Four times more second Covid doses given last week than first, figures show
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
There were four times more second Covid vaccine doses administered in Norfolk and Waveney last week than first, new figures reveal.
Fresh figures published by NHS England show there were 44,268 patients across the region that received a first or second dose in the seven days up to April 4 - down from 60,064 in the week before.
Health bosses warned in recent weeks of a "significant reduction" in the availability of jabs nationally throughout April due to to delayed shipments from overseas.
But there are promising signs that people are taking up their second vaccines after a call for people to have them - even if they experienced side effects from the first.
The 44,268 total jabs figure included a record 35,273 second doses, up from 21,726 the previous week.
This takes the total number of second doses in the region to 89,061.
But, in a sign of the roll-out's slowed pace, first dose figures declined by 29,343 in the space of a week from 38,338 to 8,995.
The total number of people in the region to have had a vaccination is now 564,212.
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In the context of Norfolk and Waveney's overall adult population, two-thirds or 66.2pc have had one jab.
On Wednesday, it was announced that those aged under 30 would be offered an alternative vaccine to Astrazeneca amid concerns over links to rare blood clots.
Dr Anoop Dhesi, chairman of NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We know some people may be concerned by things they have seen in the news over the last few days related to very rare side effects. I would like to emphasise that the UK medicines regulator has said benefits of the AZ vaccine continue to outweigh any risks - the risk of mortality from Covid is much greater than the risk of mortality from these side effects."
He said it was vital to keep the vaccination programme going "at pace" as society opened up, "in order to help stave off rising infection rates".
"As a country and a county, we need a critical mass of people to have both doses of the vaccine in order to have the level of protection across society that will help us get offices, shops, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers open as planned," he said.
The Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership continues to remain in the top five highest vaccination rates in the country.
The vaccination programme rollout has seen two of the region's authorities rank in the top 10 in terms of people over 50 who have their first jab, out of the 314 local authorities in England.
South Norfolk ranks third in the country with 94.6pc of adults aged 50 and above having had their first jab, followed closely behind by Broadland with 94.4pc.
Also vaccinating more than 90pc of their over 50 population is North Norfolk (93.9), Breckland (92.5pc) and King's Lynn and West Norfolk (92.1pc).
Norwich ranks the lowest of the districts in 226th in the country with 88.4pc, behind Great Yarmouth with 89.8pc.
In terms of more specific neighbourhoods, Heacham and Snettisham - in the King's Lynn and West Norfolk borough - again has the best vaccination rate in Norfolk and Waveney, at 76.1pc. This the 32nd most vaccinated area in the country.
Mundesley, Trunch and Bacton is the next best, on 75.pc followed by Hunstanton on 75.3pc.
The government has reiterated this week that changes to the vaccine roll-out were not expected to slow the roadmap out of lockdown, saying it still expected to offer all adults a dose of the vaccine by the end of July.