Mass vaccination centres confirmed for Shropshire as infection rates remain 'worryingly high'

Mass vaccination centres are on their way to the county but virus rates are still "worryingly high" according to public health officials.


              
Chief Pharmacist Richard Harrison with the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at Askham Bar park-and-ride in York, as ten further mass vaccination centres opened in England with more than a million over-80s invited to receive their coronavirus jab. Picture date: Monday January 18, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Chief Pharmacist Richard Harrison with the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine at Askham Bar park-and-ride in York, as ten further mass vaccination centres opened in England with more than a million over-80s invited to receive their coronavirus jab. Picture date: Monday January 18, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Health bosses have confirmed mass vaccination sites for Shrewsbury and Ludlow – but they will not be open until the start of February. A third site will open in north Shropshire later in the month, according to Shropshire Council.

Vaccines are already being administered at GP surgeries, pharmacies and at hospitals in Shrewsbury and Gobowen.

Telford is also awaiting a date to confirm the opening of its mass vaccination hub at Telford International Centre, but it is understood that could be as early as next week.

A vaccination site has been confirmed for Newport, opening next week at the Audley Court building, while in Wales, the government has come under fire for the pace of the vaccine rollout.

It comes as the virus infection rates per 100,000 people have dropped slightly in the county in the past week – likely due to the lockdown starting to take effect – but it was also the most deadly week of the pandemic in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin so far, with 28 covid deaths.

In Shropshire the rate is still 410, while it stands at 513 in Telford & Wrekin, and 200 in Powys.

Virus infection rates across the region

Both of the county's public health directors have called on people to stick to the rules amid concern that three quarters of all cases are now the new, more transmissible Covid variant.

Rachel Robinson, Shropshire’s Director of Public Health said: “Our Covid cases are still worryingly high in younger and older age groups.

"Around three quarters of cases are the new variant – which is much easier to catch. Sadly, last week here in Shropshire we recorded our highest number of deaths in the pandemic. 25 people lost their lives to this dreadful virus in Shropshire – everyone a parent or grandparent, a partner, a brother or sister or dear friend.

“Covid has now claimed 391 lives in Shropshire, and my heart goes out to those who have lost a loved one.

“Every social contact provides the virus with a chance to spread so please, stay at home and don’t make any unnecessary journeys.

“That means staying at home but for a few exceptional reasons including for exercise, shopping for essentials and travelling to work if you cannot do so from home.

"You can also leave home to seek help if you are unsafe or at risk of danger. But unless it absolutely necessary, you should stay at home and deny the virus any opportunity to spread."

Liz Noakes, Telford and Wrekin’s Director for Public Health, said people must behave as though they have the virus.

She said: “Latest figures suggest that the number of cases in Telford and Wrekin are beginning to plateau – it’s too early to say there is a decline.

“We face a difficult couple of months, it will take time for infections to fall to a more acceptable level. The only way we will achieve this is by everyone coming together to play there part.

“Thank you to everyone who is staying at home to protect the NHS at this critical time. Please remember to act like everyone has the virus, and that they may be carrying the virus themselves – one in three people with Covid-19 show no symptoms.”

In a joint statement, local councillors Andy Boddington, Tracey Huffer, Richard Huffer and Vivienne Parry welcomed the news that Ludlow is getting a vaccination centre.

They said: “A lot of planning is going into this and everyone is working tirelessly to set up a safe and well-run vaccination site. We know many local residents will be keen to get their jab and we look forward to seeing the first eligible patients through the doors in the coming weeks.

“Local GP practices will also be proving vaccinations at their surgeries and through home visits to those who are housebound.”

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