Suffolk in top six areas as more than 1 in 3 have first Covid jab

Doctor Parikh with the Pfizer vaccine at Constable Country Medical Practice.  

Doctor Parikh with the Pfizer vaccine at Constable Country Medical Practice. - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Suffolk is in the top six again nationally for people receiving their first Covid jab with more than one in three people inoculated - however, there are still some vulnerable over-80s left to go.

Figures out on Thursday reveal 34% - more than a third - of those aged 16 and over in the Suffolk and north east Essex NHS area had their first dose of the life-saving vaccine as of Valentine's Day.

Just over 94% of over-80s, one of the most vulnerable groups, have now received their first jab and this is a similar percentage to other areas, with Norfolk and Waveney slightly ahead at 95.6%.

And all of those in the 75-79 age group have now received their first dose.

Andy Yacoub, of Healthwatch Suffolk, said he has seen more recent figures which show 97% of over-80s in Suffolk have received their first shot in the arm. 

The remaining 3% are likely to be those in care homes yet to be vaccinated due to outbreaks, while he stressed there will be some in that cohort declining the jab.

Public meeting at the John Peel Centre, Stowmarket, over NHS challenges. Pictured is Andy Yacoub (CE

Andy Yacoub, chief executive of Healthwatch Suffolk - Credit: Gregg Brown

He described the latest numbers as "pretty good, all things considered" - particularly given supply issues impacting the Suffolk rollout earlier in January - but pointed out that data on those who have chosen not to have the jab is not yet available.

In total, 284,192 doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been given out in our region so far.

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Just under 7,000 of those were second doses, with the lion's share of those going to over-80s.

Around 8% of this cohort have received their second dose.

Nationally, 16.4 million people have been given a vaccination in the UK.

On Sunday, the Government managed to reach its target of offering a jab to everyone in the top five priority groups - around 15 million people - by mid-February.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said this week that there were “interesting straws in the wind” and “grounds for confidence” on vaccines cutting the spread of infection.

Professor Paul Hunter, from the University of East Anglia, said earlier this week that he thought it was too early to point to the vaccine rollout as the source of shrinking infections rather than general lockdown restrictions.

Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the UEA, believes it is the right time for increased social in

Paul Hunter, professor of medicine at the UEA, believes it is the right time for increased social interaction between households amid the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant © 2013

But, he added his own research was beginning to offer some promising signs.

"It does look like we’re starting to see a noticeable decline in the older age groups, relatively speaking, particularly in the over 80s, and we’re possibly starting to see that in (reducing) hospital admissions,” he said on Wednesday.

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