Health chiefs are urging people to take up offers of Covid vaccine spring boosters in a bid to slow down the rise in hospital cases and deaths in Northampton.
Last month’s rollout of fourth jabs for the elderly and clinically vulnerable was by appointment only.
But clinics across the county are now offering drop-in jabs in a bid to vaccinate as many eligible people as possible.
Chris Pallot, director of the county vaccination programme, said take-up so far has been “really heartening.”
He added: “We have so far delivered over 14,000 spring boosters protecting the most vulnerable who are at a higher risk of serious illness from Covid-19.
“We know immunity to Covid-19 wanes over time so having your vaccines is absolutely vital to maintain a higher level of protection.
“Restrictions may have been lifted but there is still plenty of Covid-19 circulating around. Cases are high in the county so we need to do everything we can to protect ourselves and others and that means getting our jabs as soon as possible.“
■ Visit www.northamptonshire.gov.uk/covidvaccine for details on where you can get a Covid jab TODAY or click https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/ for details on booking doses.
Latest NHS England figures revealed 165 Covid patients were being treated for the virus in Northamptonshire’s two main hospitals by Tuesday (March 29) — up from 126 a week earlier and 85 at the beginning of the month.
Separate data also confirmed 17 Covid patients sadly died in 11 days between March 25 and April 4 — including eight in the last six days at Kettering General Hospital.
Research in Imperial College London's latest React-1 study suggests that coronavirus cases are decreasing or plateauing in younger age groups — but prevalence is increasing among the older people who are more likely to suffer from severe illness.
Professor Christl Donnelly said: "If you see more infection, you would expect to see more severe outcomes.
"We don't yet know when we'll see a peak in the oldest age group and because those people are at higher risk of severe outcomes that is a particular worry."
Northampton General Hospital last week admitted a rise in the number of staff needing to isolate with Covid was behind temporarily suspending the home births service at the hospital.
Numbers of recorded positive tests are falling across Northamptonshire, although experts fear this is mainly down to people simply not taking tests since the government scrapped free home lateral flow kits on Friday (April 1).
Those eligible for a spring booster include those aged 75 or over or living in care homes plus individuals aged 12-and-over who have weakened immune systems.
Clinics are available in Northampton, Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough, Towcester and Brackley.
Parents can also book vaccinations for children aged between five and 11.
Mr Pallot added: “Vaccinations not only protect your children from serious illness, they also help to protect those they come in to contact with.
"We recognise that some parents might be hesitant and that is totally understandable.
"Our extremely approachable teams at our vaccination sites are always happy to help, we want to support parents to help them make an informed decision.”