Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic, and every single jab makes us all a bit safer. The Prime Minister has urged everyone who is eligible to book and get their vaccine as soon as possible.
Our vaccine programme has now reached over 13 million people and is a testament to the monumental effort of NHS workers, volunteers and our armed forces. We are now averaging 2.5 million doses a week and one in four adults in England has also now received their first dose.
So far the take-up of the vaccine so far has been significantly better than we hoped for, we knew that the UK had one of the most positive attitudes to vaccine uptake and assumed we’d get take-up of around 75% however the numbers are much higher: among the over 80s, we’ve now given a first dose to 91%; among those aged between 75 and 79, it’s 95%. And almost three-quarters of those aged between 70 and 74, who were the most recent group to be invited. The NHS has also visited every eligible care home with older residents, and offered vaccinations to all their residents and staff. So among eligible care home residents, the take-up is 93%.
Locally, the Mid & South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, have made very good progress across the Trust with over 14,500 members of staff having had their first-dose vaccination - more than 90% of the workforce. In total, the three hospital hubs in Southend, Basildon and Chelmsford have delivered more than 37,000 vaccination doses. Protecting them protects the health and social care service and recognises the risks that they face in this service.
Across the UK that still leaves nearly 2 million people that the NHS hope to reach. So as we continue to vaccinate our most vulnerable at a record pace, we are urging everyone 70 and over, all frontline NHS and care staff, older care home residents and staff, and all those who are clinically extremely vulnerable to come forward and take up the vaccine so that we can save lives, prevent serious illness and take another step on the road to normality. The easiest way is to do this is through the National Booking Service: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination
Vaccines save lives. They protect you, and there’s increasing evidence they protect those around you too. The fewer people who are left unprotected, the safer we’ll all be and the more securely we’ll be able to release restrictions when the time is right. So the NHS, and local authorities, and the teams working with them are doing everything they can to reach the remaining people in these groups and we’ll keep on searching for those final few per cent, even as we expand the offer of a vaccine to younger age groups.