Big increase in Covid booster jabs given across Suffolk

Nurse Maria Alexiou preparing a Covid-19 vaccination at the new mass vaccination centre at Connaught

Suffolk is now top in the region for the amount of booster jabs given - Credit: Danielle Booden

Health chiefs have ramped up their efforts to get the Covid booster jabs administered - with more than 60% of eligible people in Suffolk now having had the top-up

However, 90,000 eligible people are still yet to have the extra jab.

Officials from Suffolk and North East Essex – which excludes the Waveney area of the county – told Friday’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board meeting there had been a “significant increase” in performance in the last seven days to deliver 34,000 jabs, 31,000 of them boosters.

That compares to the 21,000 delivered weekly a month ago.

Suffolk and North East Essex has now vaccinated 19.22% of the total population with boosters – the highest in the region – while Norfolk and Waveney in second has jabbed 18.35% with boosters.

Elizabeth Moloney, deputy director of strategic change at Suffok’s clinical commissioning group, has been leading the vaccination programme. She said: “We have vaccinated 61.1% of that [eligible] population, so 141,000 patients across Suffolk have received their booster vaccination, which whilst we are proud of that we are not complacent because we do have 90,000 patients currently eligible and they have not been vaccinated.

“That is our absolute priority to ensure that those people are very clear about their eligibility and how they can access the vaccine, and that is absolutely what we continue to focus on.”

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To jab 100% of the population by the New Year, the team needs to deliver around 27,000 a week.

Vaccination sites currently include three vaccination centres, two hospital hubs, 28 community pharmacies and 19 primary care network settings, but health chiefs said they were still working to up the numbers of pharmacies involved.

Further changes have been made with the booking system too.

“In line with patient feedback and cognisant of the winter months that we are now approaching, we have shifted our operating model to offer more booked appointments,” Elizabeth Moloney said.

“That is something we have responded to in terms of patient feedback, however to maximise the capacity we have we are constantly looking at our vaccination centres in particular, and where we do have unused appointments we make those available the evening before at 5pm, and then we promote those through social media and other communication mechanisms.”

Comparable data for Waveney was not presented to the meeting, but bosses there said nearly 45% of 12-17 year olds have had a first dose vaccine, while 43% of the overall eligible population are fully vaccinated.

Jocelyn Pike from Norfolk and Waveney CCG said it had provided both admin and clinical staff to help support the school rollout.


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