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Coronavirus Kent: ‘Covid has not gone away’ - Vaccine rollout continues as hospital admissions rise


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A Kent NHS leader has urged people to book their booster jabs and warned 'Covid has not gone away'.

More than 2.8 million vaccines have been given to people across the county and 92% of eligible residents have had two doses.

Covid-19 hospital admissions are rising in Kent
Covid-19 hospital admissions are rising in Kent

Concerns have been raised about a rise in the number of hospital admissions and deaths, with 4,744 Covid deaths recorded in Kent since the start of the pandemic.

The number of people testing positive for the virus has reduced from 406 to 327 per 100,000 people, from the end of October to beginning of November.

Paula Wilkins, chief nurse at the Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), overseeing the county's jab rollout, said: "We are moving in the right direction, but very sadly there is an increase in the number of deaths."

Her comments were made to Kent County Council's (KCC) health scrutiny panel earlier today.

Around 1.85 million people live in the county, with 58% of residents eligible for a booster jab having received one. This is mainly the Pfizer or Moderna dose.

Kent has seen more than 4000 deaths from Covid since the start of the pandemic
Kent has seen more than 4000 deaths from Covid since the start of the pandemic

The vaccine uptake by 16 and 17-year-olds living in the county remains at 58% and at around 32% for 12 to 15-year-olds.

It comes as the UK government has today told England care home staff they must be fully vaccinated to continue working in the sector.

Meanwhile, 177 residents testing positive for Covid are being treated at Kent hospitals, of which 20 are in intensive care and high-dependency units.

Calls have been stepped up for residents to take up the booster vaccine.

Ms Wilkins said: "At the beginning, we saw people coming into hospitals who were not predominantly vaccinated.

Care home staff must be fully vaccinated to continue working
Care home staff must be fully vaccinated to continue working

"We are now starting to see people who are double vaccinated in hospital, which is why we are absolutely supporting and encouraging people to come forward with the booster doses."

Ms Wilkins said it was a "personal view" on wearing face masks in public, however this is being encouraged for patients who are visiting GPs and hospitals.

She added: "Covid has not gone away. We need to learn to live with it, but it does not mean we return to life as it was before coronavirus."

People eligible for the booster include residents aged 50 and over and people aged 16 and over who are more vulnerable to the serious health risk of Covid.

This relates to long-term kidney disease, liver conditions, dementia, diabetes, obesity and severe learning disabilities.

People are being urged to book their booster jabs
People are being urged to book their booster jabs

In addition, the NHS say jabs should be distributed five months after a person has received a second dose.

Ms Wilkins added: "It is something we need individuals to realise - it's not going away.

"The vaccination reduces the chance of people dying, but does not completely eliminate it."

Kent residents can book their jab via the national booking system.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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