Bid to boost Covid jabs take-up across Suffolk

Arrangements have not yet been announced for Covid booster jabs this autumn

Health chiefs are determined to encourage as many people as possible to accept vaccinations to protect them from the coronavirus - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

More efforts are to be made across Suffolk to encourage groups with low take-up - including ethnic minorities, migrant workers and young people - to have the Covid-19 jabs.

Community engagement efforts are being ramped up to get the message across amid rising coronavirus cases – with the team set to expand to engaging in 15 languages in the next few weeks.

Ipswich has the third highest number of cases in England with 861 per 100,000 people, with West Suffolk, Mid Suffolk and Babergh all exceeding more than 500 cases per 100,000.

Public Health Suffolk’s autumn and winter plan has highlighted a need to improve efforts in groups with low take-up – whether that is first or second doses, booster vaccinations or those for 12-15 year olds.

A Public Health Suffolk spokeswoman said: “The community engagement team visit areas of low vaccine uptake on regular basis. We have one-to-one conversations with people in public places such as parks, shop parades, schools and answer any queries, provide advice and support.

“The team carry packs containing hand sanitisers, lateral flow test kits, face masks and information about testing, vaccination and isolation.

“We are targeting two cohorts: young people and seasonal and migrant workers.

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“We can provide packs in different languages and the team is able to conduct engagement multi-lingually – we currently have nine languages embedded in the team and likely to grow to up 15 languages in the next few weeks.”

Cases within 10-14 year olds has increased by 15% in the last week, while the 15-19 bracket saw cases soar by 32% in the same period.

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk Picture: SUFFOLK COUNTY COUNCIL

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk - Credit: Suffolk County Council

Public Health Suffolk director Stuart Keeble said: “We have seen the number of Suffolk pupils with Covid-19 increase so are working with schools to implement these additional measures immediately to help break the chain of transmission.

“We are taking these numbers seriously and school leaders are being extremely vigilant to ensure children and staff are safe.”

Simon Harley, public health spokesman from Suffolk County Council’s opposition Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group, said: “It is very concerning that infection rates are accelerating, and that warnings are having to be given to schools just before half term.

“On previous experience, we can expect more stringent measures soon as the virus races through the population.

“I would advise anyone who is eligible for themselves, or their children, to have a vaccination to take this up as soon as possible – as it is mostly the unvaccinated who are having be admitted to hospital and needing intensive treatment.”

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