Only 76% of borough’s residents have had covid vaccination, council sources reveal, as new variants of the virus see infection rates increase nationally by 30% in a week
Covid cases are on the rise in Croydon, with the public being asked to “remain vigilant and do what they can to prevent catching and spreading the virus”.
Now that the government has ended free tests for most people, the number of recorded cases has become a less reliable metric when tracking the spread of coronavirus.
Instead, the Office for National Statistics publishes an estimate for the proportion of people that have contracted the virus in the past week. This data is based on a sample of household surveys and tests and then is extrapolated to give nationwide estimates. This data takes a week to compile and is published once a week so covers a time period that can be up to two weeks earlier.
According to the latest ONS data, covid infection levels nationally have risen by almost 30per cent in a week, with an estimated 3.5million people thought to have had the disease in the first week of July, prompting a leading epidemiologist to call for a return of free lateral flow tests.
And while there has remained a programme of booster vaccinations for the clinically vulnerable, those working in care homes and the over-75s, additional jabs have not been offered to the general population for almost six months. Yesterday, all that changed.
The immunisation campaign has been expanded as current variants are spreading quickly, and it is uncertain how the virus will mutate. Everyone aged 50 and over will be offered a covid booster vaccine this autumn to top up their immunity and cut their risk of becoming severely ill.
Younger people at high risk from covid, as well as health and social care staff, will also get the booster.
Drug companies have been developing updated vaccines to tackle newer variants, although it is still uncertain which vaccine will be used.
The government’s original plan meant healthy people aged between 50 and 65 would not have been jabbed.
The updated advice comes from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises governments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
It says the booster should be offered to:
- health and social care staff
- everyone aged 50 and over
- carers who are over the age of 16
- people over five years old whose health puts them at greater risk, this includes pregnant women
- people over five years old who share a house with somebody with a weakened immune system
The details of the rollout have not been confirmed, however, it is thought immunisation will start from September, and will be conducted alongside the annual flu vaccination programme.
Prof Anthony Harnden, the deputy chairman of the JCVI, said: “The covid-19 boosters are highly effective at increasing immunity and, by offering a further dose to those at higher risk of severe illness this autumn, we hope to significantly reduce the risk of hospitalisations and deaths over the winter.”
The announcement last night comes against a background of rising levels of infection, at a time of year when it had been supposed that the risks of contagion would be much-reduced.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics based on swabs collected from randomly selected households show that 2,873,600 people in England are estimated to have had covid in the week ending July 6 – about 1-in-19. The week before, the figure was 2,154,000 people – or about 1-in-25.
Increases were also seen in other parts of the UK: 1-in-16 in Scotland and 1-in-17 in Wales and Northern Ireland.
According to a briefing for councillors issued by the council, in the week ending July 1, Croydon saw an increase in reported cases with 933 new infections, an incidence rate of 240.1 per 100,000. London’s seven-day rolling average in that period was 222.8.
In the week prior to this (ending June 24), the number of positive cases in the borough was 732.
According to the briefing note, seen by Inside Croydon, “Croydon is currently ranked 12th [of boroughs] within London. There are 59 inpatients with diagnosed covid-19 in Croydon hospital with one patient in the intensive treatment unit.”
According to the councillor briefing, 24per cent of Croydon residents remain unvaccinated.
Only 60per cent of Croydon residents have had three doses of the vaccine.
“As we are currently seeing another rise in covid-19 cases,” the official briefing said, “we are asking everyone to remain vigilant and do what they can to prevent catching and spreading the virus.”
Read more: NHS doctors appeal for public to get jabbed to slow covid rise
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Several I know have got it and say it worse than the first time even after booster jabs. I am astonished the government haven’t warned about this more infectious wave. I just think when this wave dies down and winter approaches the government are going to make a huge mistake.