Covid booster jab uptake above average in Devon

Torbay Weekly

Most parts of Devon continue to rank above the national average for the number of people who have had Covid booster jabs.

Across the UK, 65.3 per cent of those aged over 12 have received a booster (as of Saturday 5 February) following weeks of campaigning urging the public to ‘get boosted now’ for protection against the Omicron variant.

In seven of the ten council areas in Devon (excluding Devon County Council) the proportion is higher, with only Plymouth and Exeter lagging behind at around 60 per cent – probably because they have younger populations – and Torbay in line with the UK average.

East Devon is highest in the county (and the sixth highest figure in England) at 75.3 per cent. West Devon also features prominently on the most-vaccinated table at 73.6 per cent of eligible residents.

Teignbridge, Torridge, Mid Devon and the South Hams all rank highly at around 72 per cent, while North Devon also comes in above the national average.

Despite the good take-up so far, the booster rates across the country remain quite a way off the totals achieved for the first and second doses of the vaccine – meaning the NHS in Devon is still encouraging people to come forward.

Devon County Council has also cited latest figures from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to reinforce the importance of having the booster jab.

They report that around six months after a second dose, protection against death with the now-dominant Omicron variant is around 60 per cent in people aged 50 and over, but this increases to around 95 per cent two weeks after a booster dose.

Dr Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at UKHSA, said: “The evidence is clear – the vaccine helps to protect us all against the effects of covid-19 and the booster is offering high levels of protection from hospitalisation and death in the most vulnerable members of our society.

“The pandemic is not over yet and the vaccine is the best way to increase your protection against the serious consequences of this virus – please book your appointment for your first, second or third vaccine without delay.”