In the past week, the number of people in hospital with Covid has doubled, shooting up to over two and a half thousand people. The NHS is concerned that hospital admissions are approaching the highest level seen in previous waves of the virus.
Dr David Levy, Medical Director for the NHS in the North West said:
“Unfortunately the majority of people being admitted to hospital have either not had their booster or have not had the full course of the vaccine. Getting the third dose of the vaccine reduces your chances of becoming seriously ill if you catch this Omicron variant of the Covid virus.
“Not only does Omicron mean more patients to treat, but as rates of infection rise in our community, the impact is being felt on our own staff meaning we have less staff to treat the rising numbers of patients admitted to our hospitals with Covid-19. That impact is being felt in hospitals across the country, and acutely in the North West where some hospitals have already taken the difficult decision to pause some non-urgent surgery and appointments due to the rising impact of Covid-19.
“We urgently need the public to play their part in this ongoing effort, by ensuring they are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, following guidance around social distancing, wearing masks, good ventilation and hand-washing, and accessing NHS services appropriately, using NHS 111 to ensure they are directed to the service most suitable to their need and not attending busy accident and emergency departments unnecessarily.”
Over the past week, community transmission rates for the virus across the North West has seen 1 in 15 people testing positive for COVID-19.
The local NHS is making more vaccine available in the coming week and setting up even more additional vaccine clinics to try and make it even more convenient for people to get their jab. Building on all the excellent work to date, this is an opportunity to have a further ‘push’ ahead of an anticipated ‘peak’ in Omicron infections and related admissions across the region.
Dr Linda Charles-Ozuzu, Regional Director of Commissioning and Senior Responsible Officer for the COVID-19 vaccination programme in the North West, said:
“Getting your third dose of the vaccine really is the best protection against serious illness. You can find information on your nearest vaccine clinic by calling 119, accessing the national booking service online or looking on your local council website. There are also a number of sites open where people can walk-in and grab-a-jab without an appointment.
“Clinics are also putting information out through social media. I’d urge people to get an appointment this week.”
To book your Covid-19 booster vaccination, visit: www.nhs.uk/book-a-coronavirus-vaccination/do-you-have-an-nhs-number or call 119. To find a local walk-in site, visit: www.england.nhs.uk/north-west/grab-a-jab.