Halfway there - joy as 50% of adults receive Covid vaccines in Suffolk
- Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown
One in every two residents over 16 in Suffolk and north Essex have received their first life-saving shot in the arm against coronavirus, it can be revealed.
NHS figures published Thursday show that 50% of the area's eligible population had been inoculated with their first dose of the jab as of Sunday, March 7.
It means our region is in the top five nationally for the fourth week running - and neighbourhood-level statistics also reveal we have three postcodes in the national top 10 and one in the top 15.
Vaccination rates are now published for neighbourhoods known as MSOAs, made up of around 8,200 people. There are 6,791 MSOAs in total across England.
Holland-on-Sea near Clacton, which has vaccinated 66.8% of over-16s, Saxmundham & Coldfair Green at 66.5% and Felixstowe East with 66% all place in the top 10 out of 6,791 total MSOAs nationally. Frinton West & Kirby is close behind at number 15, with 64.4% receiving first jabs.
Each one has managed to reach the impressive milestone of two-thirds of over-16s vaccinated, well above the national average.
Ed Garratt, chief executive of the Suffolk and north Essex NHS area, said the results were "impressive", adding that the region is in an excellent position.
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"So far, one in two adults in the county have received a first dose, which is a brilliant position to be in," he said.
"We have a number of communities at a very local level that are absolutely excelling in the national context, and all of the local council areas are above national averages when you look at the various metrics.
"The county is moving forward at a good pace."
The NHS boss there were 36 Covid patients in Ipswich and West Suffolk hospitals combined as of Thursday morning, compared to nearly 400 back in January.
"That is a huge reduction, and that is in part down to the vaccination programme as well as all the other measures."
At postcode level, larger urban areas with younger populations and some deprived neighbourhoods impacted by low take-up are continuing to lag behind.
However, medium-sized areas such as Bury St Edmunds, Stowmarket and Haverhill are pressing ahead and in the middle ground with an average of 40% vaccinated.
Every MSOA in Suffolk and north Essex has managed to vaccinate more than 20% of its eligible population, with Greenstead in Colchester lowest in the region at 20.3%.
More than a quarter of over-16s in Westgate, Ipswich, have now received first jabs - up from 22.4% a fortnight ago, while 24.5% have received their first shot in the arm in Wivenhoe and University near Colchester. Ipswich Central is slightly higher at 28.7%.
Suffolk NHS chiefs unveiled plans on Monday to boost jab uptake in these areas with a roving vaccine bus set to visit Ipswich town centre sites, BAME groups and religious centres.
Several Mid Suffolk areas are storming ahead with 63.2% of over-16s vaccinated with first doses in Elmswell South, Haughley, Beyton and Felsham as of March 7, with nearby Lavenham, Bildeston and Brettenham not far behind with 60%.
Currently, those aged over 56, unpaid carers, people over 16 with a health condition and young people in care homes are being prioritised for vaccines in our area.
On Thursday, it was revealed some healthy people in their 20s, 30s and 40s in our area have been receiving invitations for jabs despite no known health conditions.
Almost 23 million people in the UK have now received their first coronavirus jab, with many moving on to their second or expecting to receive it in the coming weeks.