55pc of those eligible in Norfolk and Waveney have Covid booster jab

A flu jab. The latest flu vaccination for children is administered through a nasal spray. Picture: L

Primary care director Mark Burgis said Covid cases were rising "exponentially" in Norfolk and Waveney. - Credit: PA

Some 55pc of Norfolk and Waveney’s eligible population have had their Covid booster jab, as rising rates of the virus hamper the health system’s ability to cope.

In a report, the Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) primary care director Mark Burgis wrote: “It continues to be a challenging time for general practice as the number of Covid cases are rising exponentially in Norfolk and Waveney, particularly as we begin to face winter demands and flu.

“This is naturally having an impact on workforce with staff needing to self-isolate.

"Our local booster, third primary dose and flu vaccination campaigns are picking up pace despite the immense pressure to deliver ‘business as usual’ primary care services."

He added that 135,000 booster vaccinations have been given in Norfolk and Waveney as of November 1, equating to 55pc of the eligible population.

For flu vaccinations, 137,000 have been given in the over-65s population, roughly 55pc, and 48,000 (22pc) for those aged between 50 and 65.

The report says: “We are also considering – as a matter of priority - a number of other options to support GP practices and PCNs in vaccinating housebound patients, including the provision of additional roving vaccination teams and pop-up community clinics.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. 

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital - Credit: NNUH

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“So far, 94pc of people aged over 18 in Norfolk and Waveney have had their first dose of Covid vaccine and 90pc have had two doses.

“This compares with national figures of 90pc and 85pc respectively.” 

At a Tuesday meeting of the CCG’s primary care commissioning committee, Mr Burgis said the 22pc flu jab uptake among 50 to 60s was “lower than we would wish” and that the CCG’s communications team would be encouraging people in that age group to come forward for their flu vaccine. 

Responding to a question about workforce issues, Mr Burgis said: “We must remember that in primary care, their ability to flex is limited, they’re not massive teams, so one or two people out from a stretched team does cause significant impact.”

Asked about the supply of vaccines, Mr Burgis said: “I know early on in the campaign - not so much about boosters - but we know that there were some delays to delivery of some flu [vaccine] stocks, but I think that’s been resolved now.”

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