A SENIOR doctor in the Midlands is urging everyone who is eligible to get their booster jab.
Dr Nigel Sturrock, NHS medical director for the Midlands, has called on everyone who qualifies for a booster jab but has not yet received one to book an appointment and get vaccinated before Christmas.
The call came after hardworking NHS staff and volunteers delivered a record-breaking 163,401 vaccinations on Saturday, including 150,201 boosters – both records for the vaccination programme in the Midlands since it started in December 2020.
More than 4.5million boosters have now been delivered so far across the region and 19.8million vaccinations, including first and second doses, have been given in total.
In Warwick and Stratford districts, and neighbouring Rugby borough, more than 420 suspected cases of the Omicron variant were recorded by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) in its latest figures for the week ending December 13.
The actual number is now expected to be much higher on the evidence of its alarming spread, which saw a major incident declared in London at the weekend and more than 10,000 new Omicron cases confirmed in the UK.
Dr Sturrock, said: “With Omicron cases soaring and two doses of the vaccine not providing the protection we need, it is vital to get a booster and lower your risk of serious illness or hospitalisation.
“Like all medicines, the Covid vaccines can cause side effects, but please don’t be put off. Any side effects are often mild and short-lived, but the benefit of having the booster for you, your family and your friends is substantial – getting boosted is our best hope of protecting people against the new variant.”
UK Health Security Agency data shows that two doses of a Covid vaccine are not enough to stop people becoming unwell from Omicron, but a third booster prevents around 75 per cent of people getting any COVID symptoms.
Every adult in the region is eligible for a jab three months after their second dose, following updated guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation on November 29.
Anyone in the region who has not had their first or second dose is also encouraged to book an appointment as soon as possible.
It is now even easier for people in the Midlands to get their jab as hundreds of sites are available at convenient locations, including shopping centres, sports grounds and town centres, as well as local pharmacies and GP surgeries.
All eligible people in the Midlands aged 18 and over can use the national booking service or call 119 to make an appointment.
Drop-in vaccination sites can also be found on the NHS online walk-in finder, allowing people to be jabbed without the need for an appointment.