Over-60s to be invited for coronavirus jabs from next week

Vaccinations will be offered in Shropshire to over-60s from next week as the rollout continues to gather pace.

The development comes as a health expert in the region said we should all feel “cautiously optimistic” about the future.

With more than 85 per cent of over-65s in Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin now vaccinated, people aged 60-64 are next in line, with letters being sent from Monday.

Official vaccination figures today reveal 159,567 vaccine doses had been given in the county by the end of last week, which included more than 104,000 over-65s who have had their first jab.

Across England, 15,441,149 vaccine doses have been administered.

Cautious optimism

Writing in the Shropshire Star today Kate Spence, director of health protection for Public Health England in the West Midlands, said she was encouraged by falling rates and the success of vaccination. But she urged people to hold their nerve by keeping to lockdown rules.

She said: “This week we can finally start to feel cautiously optimistic about the coming months.

“But rates across the country are still relatively high, and with the West Midlands currently being the region with the second highest rate of Covid-19 cases in the country there is still much work to be done here. We know that restrictions will only be eased as rates come down, the number of people vaccinated increases, the number of new variants is low, and we are sure that the vaccines offer protection against hospitalisation and death.”

Steve Ellis, service director for Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin’s Covid-19 vaccination service said: “We’ve seen a very positive response from people over 65 booking their appointments – so much so, that there are now just a small number of people in this group left to be vaccinated.

“We are asking them and anyone else older than 65 – and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable who may not yet have been vaccinated – to book in as soon as they can.”

Infection

More than 50,000 coronavirus jabs have now also been given in Powys.

It comes as infection rates are continuing to fall in Shropshire but are higher than the national average. Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, has warned there are still a high number of outbreaks in both care homes and work-based settings.

He added: “Earlier this week, the Prime Minister detailed the initial steps that will see the easing of lockdown restrictions here in England. We cannot afford to endanger all of the hard work and sacrifices our communities have made for the best part of a year; so for now, please stick to the rules and stay at home.”

When booking in for a jab, everyone is encouraged to have their NHS number to hand to reduce the booking time. Anybody who chooses not to use the national booking system can still wait to be contacted by their GP to offer them an appointment.

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