All Suffolk over 80s to be offered first Covid vaccine by end of January, health leaders pledge
- Credit: Archant
Suffolk health leaders have vowed to ensure that everyone in the county aged 80 and above are offered their first Covid-19 jab by the end of January.
Data published on Thursday showed 36% of the county's 80+ population had been given their first dose - the lowest percentage of anywhere in England.
Health leaders at Friday's local outbreak engagement board said that figure was now at 54% as of Friday morning, but pledged to ensure all over 80s were contacted by the end of the month, leaving nine days to vaccinate just under half of that cohort.
Cath Byford, chief nurse with Norfolk and Waveney clinical commissioning group, said: "The commitment is all over 80s will be offered a vaccination before the end of January.
"We want to assure colleagues and the public that even though some people may be being vaccinated slightly earlier [from the lower cohorts] everyone will still be offered the vaccination before the end of this month [from the over 80s]."
The meeting heard that capacity has been escalated in the last few days by up to 75%, and delivery data for jabs arriving next week indicated that all over 80s yet to have a first dose could be facilitated.
Lisa Nobes from Ipswich and East Suffolk and North East Essex clinical commissioning groups, said: "It has taken us a little longer than we would have liked to, but we have increased our capacity to deliver the vaccine by 75% in the last few days. I really think we will start to see an improvement.
"We look at our delivery schedule for the next week and we map it against all our primary care sites to make sure we have enough supply and we do have enough supply looking to next week."
"We know our schedule for next week and we are assured that we have enough to finish our care home resident vaccination programme and our over 80s."
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Vaccination to date has largely been for those receiving their first dose, with a second dose not expected to be administered until 12 weeks after the first.
It has meant that health teams have been modelling demand for when those people return, as other cohorts will be receiving their first dose at the same time.
Cath Byford said: "The logistics of rolling out the continued cohorts of the population along with then bringing back everybody who have had vaccine one for vaccine two, is going to be huge.
"We are modelling not just the demand within each of the cohorts but also overlaying that with the modelling of the returners for people to have their second vaccine in order to make sure we step up our capacity to vaccinate to match that model demand, and that we are confident we will receive the supply of the vaccine to enable what could be potentially a double whammy of demand."
Bury St Edmunds MP and junior health minister Jo Churchill said she and her colleagues had been determined to ensure the vaccine roll-out was as fair as possible and was confident that the target of vaccinating all those in the top groups by the end of the month would be met.
She said: "We're now up to 54% of people over 80 who have been inoculated and we've got another 40,000 doses that are waiting to go into people's arms in this area.
"We are on target to get everyone in care homes vaccinated by the end of Sunday. It is a huge operation and we have got new centres and volunteers starting all the time. We can't make promises about how long things will take because we are in the hands of the vaccine manufacturers but we are on course to meet our first targets."