Notts councils and CCG face logistical challenge for booster rollout

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Council and health bosses in Nottinghamshire have outlined the scale of the challenge rolling out the NHS Covid-19 booster vaccination announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Concerns on where new vaccine centres will open and if people will be able to book an appointment close by are some of the issues being raised.

Mr Johnson delivered a televised message on Sunday, following a rise in Omicron variant coronavirus cases.

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He said everyone over the age of 18 will be offered a Covid booster jab by the end of December, provided three months have passed since their last jab, to help protect people from a fresh wave of infections.

There are fears the NHS could be overwhelmed by cases of the Omicron variant.There are fears the NHS could be overwhelmed by cases of the Omicron variant.
There are fears the NHS could be overwhelmed by cases of the Omicron variant.

Cases of the new variant is doubling every two to three days, far quicker than the existing dominant Delta variant.

On Friday, public health directors said there were 11 cases in the area – nine in the city and two in the county, but they predict the true figure in the community will be higher.

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Mr Johnson has said extra vaccine and mobile sites would be set up and opening hours extended. More volunteers would be trained to deliver the vaccines.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson.Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Coun Jason Zadrozny, Ashfield Council leader, said: “After Mr Johnson’s rushed announcement, we are awaiting further detail about the implications for the council.

“At the moment we have received no guidance.”

Amanda Sullivan, NHS Nottinghamshire clinical commissioning group accountable officer, said: “The NHS is working hard to accelerate the booster programme to offer protection to as many people as quickly as possible.

“We are establishing a number of ways we can quickly step up the volumes of jabs given to the public.

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“These will include increasing capacity at sites, extended opening hours, standing up more vaccination sites, working to increase our vaccinator workforce, accepting the national support on offer and supporting our GPs and community pharmacies to be able to offer jabs to as many people as possible.

“Our NHS workforce will be working hard to vaccinate as many people as possible.

“The NHS is prioritising bookings for boosters and I urge eligible people to book a slot – if you are over 30 you can book on the NHS website or by calling 119.”

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Mr Johnson said in his briefing: “We are now facing an emergency in our battle with the new variant, Omicron, and must urgently reinforce our wall of vaccine protection to keep our friends and loved ones safe.

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“It is now clear two doses of vaccine are not enough to give the level of protection we all need.

“The good news is our scientists are confident a third dose – a booster dose – can bring our level of protection back up.

“Our scientists cannot say Omicron is less severe and, even if that proved to be true, we know it is much more transmissible. A wave of Omicron through a population not boosted would risk a level of hospitalisation that could overwhelm our NHS and lead to many deaths.”

Third booster jab take up among those aged 12 and over so far includes 41,592 people in Mansfield, 47,296 in Ashfield, and 48,283 in Newark & Sherwood.

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