85% now double vaccinated, but no one will be left behind
The local health and care system has welcomed the latest published data showing 85% of people in Norfolk and Waveney have now had two doses of the covid vaccine. This places the area sixth out of the 42 health and care systems in England.
Despite the significant progress made in protecting individuals and communities, local health leaders have reiterated their commitment that no one wanting a vaccine will be left behind.
Cath Byford, Chief Nurse with NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We know that 7% of our population still haven’t come forward for their first vaccine and that a significant number of local people are now due for their second dose and are yet to get this vital follow-up boost of protection. With infection rates still rising and our children and young people heading back to school and college it is as important as ever that people get vaccinated.
“We need the vast majority of our population double-vaccinated as we go into winter to avoid serious illness and hospitalisations as the weather turns colder. The NHS is always under additional pressure during the autumn and winter as respiratory infections take hold. We are urging people to take action now to help us to reduce avoidable admissions and continue with the routine and planned care that has had to take a back seat throughout the pandemic.
“Therefore, we are pulling out all the stops to make sure that there is really good access to our vaccination sites located across Norfolk and North Suffolk – including extended opening hours into the evening alongside weekend clinics. Our vaccination bus is on the road again visiting Thetford this Friday and Saturday and we are also running a live question and answer session to provide information and reassurance about vaccinations in pregnancy.”
Evidence shows that pregnant women are at a higher risk of becoming severely ill from COVID-19, with around one in ten who are admitted to hospital with symptoms needing intensive care and one in five giving birth prematurely.
Nicola Lovett, the CCG’s Lead Midwife, said: “Evidence shows that pregnant women are more at risk of getting seriously unwell with the virus, particularly if they have underlying health conditions or are in the later stages of pregnancy.
“Having the vaccine is the best way to keep safe and reduce the risk of potential complications, but we know that some women may still have questions or be unsure about having the vaccine. We warmly invite anyone with worries or concerns to take part in our online live chat so that they can get factual, clinical advice and make a decision that’s right for them.”
The live Question and Answer session will be held online between 6pm and 7pm on Thursday 9 September. An expert panel will respond to questions and includes:
- Tracy Williams, Clinical Governing Body Member & Clinical Lead for: Prevention & Addressing Inequalities, Children Young People & Maternity Norfolk and Waveney CCG and an active vaccinator.
- Nicola Lovett, Local Maternity and Neonatal System (LMNS) Lead Midwife
- Dr Sarah Flindall, Lead GP for the LMNS
- Suzanne Meredith, Deputy Director of Public Health (Public Health Services)
The specialist team on the roving vaccination bus have also been talking to people about fertility and pregnancy issues, having made numerous stops in the heart of the communities where people live and work. The bus vaccinators have provided more than 2,000 vaccinations since they launched the service in mid-April and continue to reach out to areas where uptake is lowest or people are struggling to get to a large vaccination site.
The bus will be making a return trip to Thetford tomorrow (Friday 3 September) and Saturday (4 September) offering first and second Pfizer doses to anyone aged 16+. Second doses are given after an interval of 8+ weeks since first vaccination.
No appointment is needed but people are advised to bring their NHS number if they have it.
The bus will be visiting on: Friday 3 September, 11:00pm – 4:00pm at Abbey Estate Car park at Bishop CE Primary School, Canterbury Way 1P24 1EB
Saturday 4 September, 11:00– 4:00pm at Pine Close Estate: Car park outside Fulmerston Christian Church, Fulmerston Rd IP24 3LF
Added Cath: "Our friendly staff are experienced at supporting people who are nervous about being vaccinated and you can ask any questions you might have on the day. Do let staff know if you’re worried when you arrive at a vaccination centre, and if you’d like to bring someone along to support you, that’s absolutely fine.”