Plans for extra Covid jab capacity to be revealed

Arrangements have not yet been announced for Covid booster jabs this autumn

The Local Outbreak Engagement Board gave an update on Covid booster jabs in Suffolk. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Further plans on how the region will scale up the booster vaccine rollout will be finalised next week as health bosses hope all over the age of 40 will have had their top up by the new year. 

A meeting of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board heard that around 95,000 people that are currently eligible for their booster have not taken it up.

Suffolk is among the top five areas of the country for booster jab rollout with nearly 74% jabbed.

Elizabeth Moloney, deputy director of strategic change at Suffolk’s clinical commissioning groups, told the meeting NHS England will finalise next week plans for additional capacity to rollout the booster to those aged 18 to 40.

She told the meeting: "We have over 271,000 patients that have received their vaccine. We do have 95,000 patients who are eligible who are yet to be vaccinated, and we collectively remain absolutely committed and focused to offering that vaccine to all eligible patients at this time."

As part of preventative measures against the new Omicron variant, the government reduced the gap between jabs from six months to three, and pledged to have all over 18s offered a booster by the end of January.

Elsewhere, Public Health Suffolk reported that half of 12-15 year-olds have had a dose of the vaccine, slightly above the 48% figure for both England as a whole and the East of England.

Dr Ed Garratt, executive lead for the Suffolk and North East Essex ICS,

Dr Ed Garratt, executive lead for the Suffolk and North East Essex ICS. - Credit: Ben Carmichael/Suffolk CCGS

Dr Ed Garratt, chief executive of Ipswich and East Suffolk, West Suffolk and North East Essex CCGs, said: “The county of Suffolk really is leading the way in the East of England – we are in the top five areas of the country for progress in the booster programme.

"Obviously, we want to be number one but it is good to be in the top five.

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“We have been asked to scale up the programme all across the country from now until the end of January and we are absolutely committed to delivering on that, and we are very confident we will deliver the volumes that are required.”

A large vaccination event is being held in Newmarket this weekend, by invitation only, in which up to 10,000 people can be jabbed.

Jabs are being distributed at a range of places, including large vaccination centres, pop-up clinics, health centre sessions and community pharmacies.