With the Omicron variant of Covid prompting a fresh wave of tighter restrictions across England, the focus is on getting as many as possible people vaccinated and given booster jabs before it arrives in Sheffield.
Earlier this week, Sheffield’s public health director Greg Fell spoke about this tactic of ‘delaying the spread’ of Omicron to Sheffield to provide more time to ‘maximise booster coverage’.
Mr Fell explained that while infection rates in Sheffield were on a downward curve, the situation could ‘flip’ at any point and vaccinations and boosters remained the best protection available to limit the spread of Covid.
Who can get a booster jab?
Booster jabs are currently available to the over-40s age group and above, as long as you had your second dose at least 6 months ago.
People at high-risk of getting ill due to health condistions – and their main carers – are also eligible for booster jabs at the moment.
And frontline workers and care home workers can get theirs, too.
Younger people will be encouraged to get their boosters soon, with the Govermnet saying they should be open for all by December 13.
A number of walk-in centres are available across the city to help you get your booster jab at the most convenient time.
How many people have had the booster jab in Sheffield?
According to stats from the NHS, as of December 4, a total of 159,573 people in Sheffield had received three doses of Covid-19 vaccine.
This equates to 29.7 per cent of the population. Meanwhile, 77.6 per cent of Sheffield’s population have had their first jab and 70.8 per cent have had two doses.
Elsewhere in South Yorkshire, 35.7 per cent of Doncaster’s population has had a third dose. In Rotherham it is 36.6 per cent and in Barnsley it’s 32 per cent.
However, NHS England data, published for the first time, showed 100,947 people aged 50 and over in Sheffield had received a booster jab or third vaccine dose by November 21.
That's at least 50 per cent of that age group, based on the number of people on the National Immunisation Management Service.
What has Sheffield City Council said about the local Covid booster vaccine take up rate?
Sheffield’s director of public health Greg Fell praised the impact of the boosters in the older age groups.
He said: “The rate continues to fall in the over 60s and that is the group I am most worried about because it’s the group most likely to be made severely ill. This is the positive impact of the boosters.
“The booster programme has accelerated massively over the last couple of weeks and that is why there has been an impact on the number of cases, there’s no two ways about that."
He said that there was concern that the mutated Omicron variant could be more resisant to the vaccines, however there was no proof this was the case yet.
“All the indications are that the vaccine will protect you against serious illness,” he said. “The most important thing any of us can do is get the first two doses, and, as many of us have had them, get the booster when you become eligible.
"That will hopefully contain the virus and we will see the end of the pandemic.”