People across North Lincolnshire are being urged to get their Covid-19 booster jab when they can to help fight off the impact of the new omicron variant.
The local response to the call to get the booster has been amazing already – with slots for the jab filling up fast.
Now, a new vaccination centre will open in Scunthorpe on Tuesday 21 December.
Based at The Foundry in Scunthorpe town centre, the new centre will be available for walk-in vaccinations between 9am and 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday.
Self-test lateral flow kits will also be available for collection at the centre.
Rob Waltham, leader of North Lincolnshire Council, said: “All the data we have available to us shows the vaccine works, it is the best protection – get yours when you can.
“The council and the NHS locally have worked fast to open a new vaccination centre to meet the very high demand locally following the Government’s call for everyone over 18 to get the booster.
“The rise in cases mean the chances of contracting are higher – we need to be very careful, and support neighbours, particularly vulnerable if isolating. There’s no excuse now not to get the jab.”
More than 130,000 people in North Lincolnshire, aged 12 or over, have had at least one vaccine. Of the 120,000 over 18s who have had a second dose, 56 per cent have already had a booster.
Tessa Lindfield, North Lincolnshire’s director of public health, has too urged people to get their jabs.
She said: “The evidence shows that a booster jab increases protection from Omicron symptoms from around 40 per cent for people who are double jabbed to 75 per cent. It protects against serious illness and hospitalisation.
“Around half the eligible people in North Lincolnshire have now had the booster so there is still some way to go to get people protected over the next few weeks.
“The new vaccine centre will increase capacity, and along with the Ironstone Centre for booked vaccinations – the hard work of local GPs and pharmacies will mean that every eligible person will be offered a booster by the end of the year.”
Cllr Waltham added: “It is really important that people be good neighbours at this time too – the whole community needs to work together to support the most vulnerable, to look after family, friends and neighbours.
“As cases rise, we anticipate that more people will be asked to self-isolate. Taking the time to ensure our friends, families and neighbours are okay will make a huge difference in the coming weeks.”
Dr Satpal Shekhawat, Medical Director at NHS North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who continues to work tirelessly to get North Lincolnshire as protected as possible from this virus.
“Month after month, we face fresh challenges but the local NHS, local authority, GP surgeries, Scunthorpe Vaccination Centre, volunteers and many more continue to go above and beyond to help others.
“The number of Omicron cases is rising rapidly across the country. We have already seen multiple hospital admissions with this new variant and even our first death. I would urge everyone to take this seriously. Please, get your booster jab as soon as you can. We have the walk-in facility at The Foundry in Scunthorpe, booked appointments at the Scunthorpe Vaccination Centre and our GPs are working extra hours to vaccinate their patients as well.”
“Our local hospitals and GP practices are already under severe winter pressure, and we cannot afford another wave of admissions. Please protect yourselves and your loved ones as soon as you can.”