One of the senior public health officials in the Midlands has said those who are not vaccinated and boosted are facing increased risks of being hospitalised.
In the Midlands, around 20% of eligible people have yet to have their booster – with only a third of under 30-year olds having taken up their booster to date – putting themselves at risk, as protection from the first two doses reduces reduced over time and needs a top-up to provide increased protection against Omicron.
Professor Mike Wade, Interim Regional Director of Public Health for the Midlands is urging the unvaccinated to get jabbed. He said: “With increasing case numbers, we are seeing more people admitted to hospital, and some end up having to undergo intensive care treatment with long stays in hospital. This can be traumatic for the individual and their loved ones. It also continues to put avoidable pressure on our hospitals at this time.
“The numbers speak for themselves. In the Midlands, approximately 70% of patients in intensive care in hospital are unvaccinated. The vaccine is our best line of defence, and this includes the all-important booster dose. The region’s NHS and local authority partners are doing all they can to provide clinics for people of all ages, so that everyone eligible can take up the offer of the vaccine.
“We know that specific groups are putting themselves at risk by not taking up the vaccine – including men under 40 and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The vaccines are safe, and they greatly reduce the chance of getting seriously unwell, being hospitalised, or even dying, if you catch COVID-19. That’s why we are urging people to get vaccinated, get boosted, get protected.”
Dr Nigel Sturrock, Regional Medical Director for NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands, said: “We have all read that Omicron is mild but I’m hearing from doctors in hospitals that it isn’t mild for everybody – patients who have no immunity to COVID-19 are becoming very ill indeed.
“I want to see everyone kept as safe as possible during this Omicron wave and the best way to gain immunity to COVID-19 is to have the vaccine.
“More than 2.65 million people in the Midlands got vaccination doses in December and more than 100,000 of them were first doses. I urge everyone to get their vaccinations as soon as they are able and get the protection they need against serious illness from COVID-19.”
In the last seven days there were 83,163 cases of COVID-19 reported in the West Midlands, with a rate of around 1,395 per 100,000.
Professor Mike Wade added: “I thank everybody who has come forward to complete their course of the vaccine and get boosted, and to all those colleagues who have worked tirelessly around the clock to make this happen.