North West hits major Covid vaccine milestone
The milestone of seven million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine has been reached in the North West, with 4,189,066 people have received at least one jab and 2,811,722 people have received both doses.
Over 39.3 million people in total across the UK have now been vaccinated with a first dose (74.8%) while more than 25.5 million people have had both doses (48.5%).
Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “It is thanks to the remarkable work of the NHS our armed forces and selfless volunteers that we have been able to administer over seven million vaccines in the North West of England.
“From Cumbria to Cheshire, people have come forward in their droves to get the jab and I would urge everybody to follow suit when the time comes as we charter our course out of this pandemic and back to normality.”
Vaccines Minister, Nadhim Zahawi said: “Today the North West of England has reached an incredible milestone in the vaccine programme by delivering over seven million jabs across the region.
“The NHS and local authorities have worked tirelessly, alongside an army of volunteers, to ensure their local community is safe.
“The evidence is abundantly clear that vaccines provide strong protection against this disease. Please join the tens of millions of people around the country who are now benefiting from this vaccine to protect yourself and those around you.”
Appointments for a second dose have been brought forward from 12 to 8 weeks for the remaining people in the top nine priority groups who have yet to receive their second dose. This is to ensure people across the UK have the strongest possible protection from the virus at an earlier opportunity.
The move follows updated advice from the independent experts at the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), which has considered the latest available evidence and has recommended reducing the dosing interval. This will be supported by targeted new activity to accelerate vaccine uptake amongst eligible cohorts in Bolton and Blackburn with Darwen.
In Bolton, this includes:
increasing the delivery of vaccines through the three existing local vaccination sites and existing vaccine bus;
establishing an additional vaccine bus that will also target walk-in appointments;
NHS Professionals have supported rapid deployment of additional workforce, with St John’s Ambulance providing volunteers on a roving basis to target local businesses reaching out to those unable to take time off work;
extending pop up sites, including at a community wedding venue;
expanding community engagement plans with supporting communications and direct engagement with local communities.
In Blackburn with Darwen, this includes:
extending opening hours at Burnley vaccination centre;
extending capacity at Blackburn Crypt vaccination centre, with plans being developed to take Pfizer vaccine;
increasing community pharmacy provision;
expanding a proactive communications campaign engaging local communities;
developing additional pop up sites as needed.