People aged 50 and over are being encouraged to get their Covid-19 booster vaccine if eligible, as case rates in the higher age group across Bath and North East Somerset continue to steadily rise.
Locals are also being encouraged to get their flu vaccine, as both viruses have the potential to cause serious illness and hospitalisation.
The latest figure for rates in B&NES in the over 60s is 481.5 per 100,000 for the week ending 21st October – one of the highest in England.
Coronavirus can affect anyone, but the risk remains higher in older ages.
Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness and are at a greater risk of dying from Covid-19.
Booster vaccines are available to all people over the age of 50, as well as health and social care workers and those aged 16 and over with an underlying health condition.
People are eligible six months and one week after receiving their second dose. The National Booking Service remains open for any person needing to arrange a first or second vaccination, or a third booster dose.
If you’re eligible for your Covid-19 booster vaccination and haven’t been invited within a week of becoming eligible, you can book through the National Booking System.
The vaccine is very effective, but, like all vaccines, becomes slightly less effective over time.
Becky Reynolds, Bath & North East Somerset Director of Public Health, said: “There is so much virus circulating at the moment and we need everyone’s help to bring rates back down again.
“Our priority during this challenging winter period is to protect local people and our health services as much as possible.
“Getting a vaccine, whether that’s a first, second or booster dose for Covid-19, or the annual winter flu jab, is the most important thing we can all do.
“We are strongly encouraging people in the over 50 age group to take up the booster and flu jabs. Over the past week, unfortunately, we’ve seen a concerning sharp rise in all our rates and we are seeing a significant rise in infection in people aged over 60.”
The National Booking Service can be accessed online by visiting www.nhs.uk or over the phone by calling 119.
Information about the local rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, including details of vaccination centres and an extensive list of frequently asked questions, is available at www.bswccg.nhs.uk.
Gill May, Director of Nursing and Quality, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Covid-19 cases are on the rise and, in order to keep our communities safe, we need people to come forward for their required vaccinations.
“People eligible for a booster, which includes all those over the age of 50, will be contacted directly, and it’s massively important that those who are have their top-up dose as quickly as possible.
“Booster vaccine appointments are available at vaccination centres across our region, such as the Steam Museum in Swindon, Bath Racecourse and Salisbury City Hall, as well as at many community pharmacies across our region.”
Simple day-to-day measures can help reduce the spread of coronavirus, including:
- Regular hand washing,
- Keeping windows open when meeting people indoors,
- Wearing face coverings in busy indoor environments,
- Taking regular lateral flow tests to break transmission,
- Isolating and booking a PCR test if showing any coronavirus symptoms.
Councillor Dine Romero, cabinet member for Children and Young People, Communities and Culture, added: “The pandemic is not over. We are seeing an increasing number of people in hospital with Covid-19 so please take up the vaccine and if you are eligible get your booster jab.
“If you’re going to meet up with family and friends this half term, meet up outside wherever possible and let fresh air in if you meet inside.
“While the virus is in circulation, along with other winter illnesses such as colds and flu, please do continue to wear a face covering in crowded places unless you are exempt.
“Keep space around you, and if you are unwell, stay at home to recover.”