Over 600,000 extra shielders offered first Covid jab
Over 600,000 extra shielders offered first Covid jab after being added to extremely vulnerable list when scientists identified 1.7million more people at serious risk of disease or death
- Around 600,000 shielders in England invited to book slot for a vaccination
- Government added 1.7million more people ‘at serious risk’ to the list last week
- Around two million people were on the original shielding list for medical reasons
- The first set all received their jabs in first phase of vaccine rollout
- Comes as figure for first doses hits 18,691,835 across 1,600 vaccination sites
Hundreds of thousands of people asked to shield in England are being invited for a Covid-19 vaccine jab.
About 1.7million more people were added to the shielding list last week after experts identified additional adults at serious risk of the virus.
Some 600,000 of that group are now being invited to book a slot at a vaccination centre or pharmacy service, NHS England said.
The remainder have already had their jab in the first phase of the vaccination programme.
Letters are also arriving for about 445,000 people aged 64 who have not yet been vaccinated.
It comes as the number of people who had had their first dose hit 18,691,835 across 1,600 vaccination sites including hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacies and vaccination centres.
The shielding list was almost doubled after scientists developed a new tool which assesses whether someone is at risk of severe disease or death.
Over 600,000 people asked to shield in England are being invited for a Covid-19 vaccine jab after they were added to the extremely vulnerable list following new research by scientists (stock photo)
It comes as the number of people who had had their first dose hit 18,691,835 across 1,600 vaccination sites including hospitals, GP surgeries, pharmacies and vaccination centres
1.7million people were added to the shielding list – doubling the total to almost four million – after experts developed a new tool which assesses whether someone is at risk of severe disease or death
The tool looks at multiple factors including age, ethnicity, body mass index, other health conditions and also postcode, which is indicative of levels of deprivation.
The predictive risk model was developed by researchers led by scientists at Oxford University.
People who are shielding are advised not to leave their homes – except for brief exercise or medical appointments – because they’re at much higher risk of being hospitalised or dying if they catch the coronavirus.
Even shielders who have had their first dose of vaccine are being told to continue shielding until they have had their second shot and developed immunity from it, which happens after about three weeks after the injection.
But children who live with people who are vulnerable should still go to school when they reopen, providing they are not at risk themselves.
The additional 1.7million brought the number on the shielding list to almost four million.
Meanwhile, a further 10 vaccination sites, including Reading’s Madejski stadium and a theatre in Basildon, come online this week.
People on the shielding list were among the first in line for Covid vaccines in the UK. (Pictured: Glasgow resident John Loch, 69, receives his jab at the NHS Louisa Jordan Hospital on February 10)
This was the original top nine priority groups for the Covid vaccines, set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)
The Department of Health said it was expanding the shielding list after the Government’s scientific advisers identified additional adults at serious risk of Covid-19 using a new algorithm.
Oxford University scientists developed the model, known as QCOVID, which analyses a combination of risk factors based on patients’ medical records.
It looks at their age, weight, ethnicity and level of deprivation, as well as whether they take certain medications.
Of the 1.7million new shielders, 900,000 have already been vaccinated because their age or underlying health conditions has already made them eligible.
But health chiefs are now racing to vaccinate the 800,000 who were missed during the first wave of vaccinations. They will be targeted before the end of April.
WHAT DOES THE TOOL TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION?
The following are some variables were examined to make the tool:
- Smoking status
- Drug use
- Respiratory disease, such as asthma
- Kidney disease, such as renal failure
- Liver disease, such as alcohol-related
- Heart disease
- Neurological conditions such as Epilepsy and cerebral palsy
- Rare diseases
- Medications that compromise the immune system, such as chemotherapy
- Mental illness, such as psychosis
- Fragility fracture
- Learning disability
- Conditions or treatments that predispose to infection, such as Lupus
Those who receive letters can book online or call 119 free of charge anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.
People can pick a slot at 100 vaccination centres or almost 200 pharmacy services.
Professor Stephen Powis, NHS medical director, said: ‘The NHS vaccination programme is the biggest in the health service’s history and continues to go from strength to strength.
‘Hard-working NHS staff have already protected more than 15 million of the most vulnerable people against Covid in a matter of weeks.
‘However, if you have already been offered a jab, especially if you’re aged 70 or over, but have not taken it up, it is not too late. Please come forward so the NHS can protect you against coronavirus immediately.’
Vaccine minister, Nadhim Zahawi, said: ‘The vaccination programme continues to expand at pace, and I encourage everyone, regardless of your religion or background, to come forward and get your vaccine when it’s your turn.
‘Vaccines will protect you and those around you from this awful disease and are the best way out of this pandemic.’
It comes as new data suggests one in five adults in England aged under 70 have had their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Provisional figures from NHS England show that 16,337,561 Covid-19 vaccinations took place in England between December 8 and February 24, including first and second doses.
An estimated 20.3 per cent of people aged 16 to 69 had received their first jab as of February 21. The estimates show little variation between the regions, ranging from 17.2 per cent in London to 22.3 per cent in north-west England.
Some 94 per cent of residents of older adult care homes in England eligible to have their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine had received the jab by February 21, NHS England said.
Residents are classed as eligible for the vaccine if they have not had Covid-19 in the previous 28 days.
The equivalent figure for staff of older care homes is 71.5 per cent.
But only 54.8 per cent of eligible staff at older care homes in London are estimated to have received their first jab.
Some 54.2 per cent of social care staff at younger adult care homes and domiciliary care providers and 53.9 per cent of staff at other settings including ‘non-registered providers and local authority employed’ had received their first jab, the data showed.
England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam told ITV’s Good Morning Britain on Wednesday that healthcare workers had a ‘professional responsibility to take steps themselves to prevent them from being in a position where they could harm patients through infectious diseases they might have’.
Asked how he felt about people working in the NHS or in care homes who were refusing to have the vaccine, Prof Van-Tam said the vast majority were getting a jab.
He added: ‘I agree with Professor (Chris) Whitty in that I think healthcare workers have always had a professional responsibility to take steps themselves to prevent them from being in a position where they could harm patients through infectious diseases they might have.
‘That’s been a very clear position on hepatitis B vaccine and performing invasive procedures, particularly surgery, for decades and decades.
‘And so I think that’s the professional standard that everybody ought to adhere to.
‘Now, the other way of framing this is saying, if you’re a consumer of healthcare, if you’re a patient or a relative, would you prefer a healthcare worker to attend you or your relative if they have been vaccinated against Covid, or would you not really mind either way?’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on February 14 that everyone in England in the top four priority groups, including those aged 70 and over, had been offered the vaccine.
Family conversations in BAME households are key to ending vaccine hesitancy, research suggests
The problem of poor uptake of Covid vaccines in black, Asian and minority ethnic households could be tackled by family conversations, new research indicates.
Eight in 10 people from BAME backgrounds trust information about vaccines from family members more than Government and the media.
The British Red Cross, which commissioned an online survey, said the findings suggest family conversations could be key to tackling vaccine hesitancy among certain BAME groups.
Some 82 per cent of vaccine-hesitant people from BAME communities said they could be convinced to have a jab, with their main concerns ranging from side effects, speed of production and ingredients, the charity said.
It added that 81 per cent of BAME people polled said they would trust information from their family, which is higher than the Government (66 per cent) and mainstream media (50 per cent).
The vast majority of people from BAME backgrounds trust information about vaccines from family members more than Government and the media, new research indicates (stock photo)
It added that while people from BAME backgrounds were more than twice as likely to have spoken to friends and family about vaccine concerns (31 per cent, compared to the national average of 14 per cent), they were also much more likely to have seen or heard information encouraging them not to have the vaccine (62 per cent, compared to 42 per cent of the national sample).
‘Outright rejection of the vaccine is far highest among respondents identifying as Black African, Black Caribbean or Pakistani,’ the charity added.
But Indian (85 per cent) and Chinese (89 per cent) communities were just as likely to have already had or were planning to have the vaccine as the UK average (87 per cent), it said.
‘The research strongly points towards people from BAME backgrounds not being approached as one homogenous group,’ said the charity, adding that it was calling for a ‘person-centred approach to communicating with individuals about the vaccine’.
England sprinter Eugene Ado-Dadzie, from Essex, said he changed his mind and decided to have a vaccine after talking it through with a cousin.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said figures suggest between 11 and 15 per cent of people in the UK are vaccine-hesitant and it ‘skews toward the black and Afro-Caribbean community and other BAME communities’
The 29-year-old said: ‘It’s made me think about things I wasn’t considering before, like how what I do will impact on those around me.
‘I’m very much of the opinion that people need to do their own research, you shouldn’t be influenced by scaremongering.
‘Reach out to people who are in the know and make your own decision.
‘I’ve gone from a no, to actually yeah I think I would take it.’
Professor Geeta Nargund, vice chair of the British Red Cross and a senior NHS consultant, said: ‘Unfortunately, we know that people from BAME communities are far more likely to have received misinformation encouraging them not to have the vaccine.
‘Critically, and especially for people from BAME communities, your family is also likely to play a big part in the decision to have the vaccine.
‘When it comes to family, a key thing to remember is that by taking the vaccine, you are not only protecting yourself but also saving the lives of your loved ones.
‘Having informed conversations about the vaccine is a kind thing to do, that saves lives’.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi has said figures suggest between 11 and 15 per cent of people in the UK are vaccine-hesitant and it ‘skews toward the black and Afro-Caribbean community and other BAME communities’.
The British Red Cross said it had commissioned an online survey, conducted by Opinium, among a UK nationally representative sample between February 15 and 23.
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