Over-75s and people with a weakened immune system in the Midlands have been urged to get a Spring booster vaccine as cases of COVID-19 have begun to rise again in the region.
The Office for National Statistics has reported an increase in the percentage of people testing positive for COVID, likely caused by infections compatible with Omicron variants BA.4 and BA.5.
Data from the UK Health Security Agency has also revealed hospital admission rates are already increasing, although admission to intensive care units remains low.
In the last 7 days, 903 people were admitted to hospital with COVID in the Midlands and a total of 5,129 COVID cases were reported in the East Midlands and 5,470 in the West Midlands.
People aged 75 and over and all individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed are advised to receive a Spring booster dose of the vaccine if they have not had a booster since 21 March.
Roz Lindridge, the NHS England and NHS Improvement director responsible for overseeing the vaccination programme across the Midlands, said:
“The vaccination programme has successfully kept thousands of people in our region from becoming seriously ill with COVID-19. Infection rates are rising again and it’s vital that those who are vulnerable ensure they have the maximum possible level of protection by getting their Spring booster.
“If you are a family member, friend, or carer of someone who is eligible for the Spring booster, I would encourage you to help ensure their appointment is booked and they receive their latest jab as soon as possible.
“It’s never too late for anyone to have their vaccine. Across the Midlands there is an ‘evergreen’ offer for COVID-19 vaccinations meaning anyone who has not yet been vaccinated is able to come forward at any time to start their vaccinations. This is especially important as we enter the summer season with all the travel implications for people who haven’t yet had their full course of vaccinations.”
Spring booster jab appointments can be booked quickly and conveniently on the NHS website and people that can’t go online can book by phoning 119.
Hundreds of sites in the Midlands including community pharmacies, vaccination centres and hospital hubs are offering Spring boosters to those most vulnerable to coronavirus.
Local NHS teams are also offering vaccinations in care homes with hundreds of visits taking place.