More than 90,000 health workers and vulnerable people from Walsall will be given the Covid-19 vaccine as authorities gear up for the roll-out across the town.
New vaccines are expected to be approved by the Government in the next few days and Walsall health bosses are preparing to start the first phase of vaccination in the middle of next month.
The people being prioritised first are around 91,000 elderly, vulnerable and health care workers in the borough.
A communications campaign to encourage people to take up the vaccine and allay concerns about it is now taking place.
Meanwhile, heath officials have also revealed the number of targeted vulnerable people having the flu jab is higher than at this time last year.
In a report to the Walsall Local Outbreak Engagement Board, which meets on December 3, Dr Uma Viswanathan, consultant in public health, said: “Plans are being drawn up for the roll out of the Covid vaccines in the near future.
“It is likely that the vaccination will be made available in phases; the first phase is likely to prioritise the elderly and vulnerable groups and health care workers.
“There are approximately 91,000 eligible people in Walsall who will be offered vaccine in phase one.
“A 13 week programme of vaccination is being drawn up and will commence in early to mid-December to offer vaccine to phase one.
“Potential sites are being explored for mass vaccination and community sites (PODs). In addition, vaccination will also be offered from the acute hospital for healthcare workers.
“There are plans to develop a model for roving delivery of vaccination to people who are home-bound or in care homes.
“A programme of communications and engagement with the public to promote the uptake of the Covid 19 vaccine and combat vaccine hesitancy is underway.”
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Dr Viswanathan added the campaign to encourage vulnerable people to have the flu vaccination started early this year and had yielded an increase in uptake amongst some groups.
The percentage of over-65s who’ve had the jab so far this year is 68.4 per cent – around 10 per cent higher than at this stage in 2019.
The number of people under 65s considered at ‘clinical risk’ currently stands at 35.8 per cent compared with 28.8 per cent last year.
The percentage of pregnant women not at clinical risk taking the jab fell from 25.5 per cent last year to just over 18 per cent this year. But the number of pregnant women at clinical risk taking the vaccination rose by four per cent to 38.4 per cent.