Number of over-80s given first Covid jab above national average

The latest number of Covid vaccines administered in Suffolk and north east Essex has been revealed by the NHS

The latest number of Covid vaccines administered in Suffolk and north east Essex has been revealed by the NHS - Credit: PA

Nearly 90% of over-80s in Suffolk and north Essex have now received their first Covid vaccine - above the national average.

Our region was lagging behind the rest of the country, but last week we reported the number of first doses administered to those aged over 80 had jumped significantly.

NHS data published today, Thursday, February 4, reveals 88.6% of the 80-plus population in the Suffolk and north east Essex area have received their first dose - overtaking the national average of 88.1%.

The data, which is for the period December 8, 2020 to January 31, 2021, also shows a total of 86,042 people aged over 75 in this area have now had their first dose.

For the area, 54,844 people over 80 have now had their first jab, but only 4,870 have had their second (7.9% of the 80-plus population).

The East as a whole is hitting the national average for the oldest receiving their first dose and is above the national average for the second - 12.7% compared to an average of 11.8%.

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When it comes to the next age group, 75-79, Suffolk and north east Essex is lagging behind the rest of the East of England with 73.5% getting their first dose.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are top here with 92.9% getting this jab.

This week, a Covid-19 rapid testing centre targeting people who unwittingly have the virus opened in Bury St Edmunds.

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It is based at West Suffolk College's University Studies building on Western Way and uses lateral flow testing to identify people who may have coronavirus but are asymptomatic – crucial in arresting the spread of the virus.

Speaking about it, Stuart Keeble, the director of public health for Suffolk, said: “Although the vaccination programme is now underway, community testing is vital in helping control the spread of the virus.

“Up to one in three people who have the virus may not show any initial symptoms – so the more people we can identify with it, and get them to self-isolate, the better.”

Councillor Matthew Hicks, the leader of Suffolk County Council and chairman of the Local Outbreak Board, said: “This is a very welcome addition to Suffolk’s fight against Covid-19.

“I would urge everyone who is eligible to use it to do so, and regularly.

"Repeat testing is how we will identify and isolate anyone who is unknowingly carrying the virus and therefore help stop the spread.”

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