Over 20 million lifesaving COVID-19 vaccinations have been delivered across the Midlands as the region leads the way in the rollout of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history.

The NHS in the Midlands delivered 946,068 COVID vaccines last week – the highest weekly figure since the programme began on 8 December last year. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, people in the Midlands are urged to keep coming forward for the vital protection that the vaccine delivers.

The region became the first in the country to hit the milestone with 7,972,439 people having received their first dose, 7,334,434 their second dose and 4,812,411 million people having had a top-up booster dose ensuring they have the best possible protection.

The biggest vaccine campaign in NHS history began right here in the Midlands over one-year ago at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust, as 91-year-old grandmother Maggie Keenan became the first person in the world to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 jab following its clinical approval.

People have been vaccinated at over 640 Midlands locations including hospital hubs, vaccination centres, football and cricket stadiums, buses, factories, shopping centres, mosques, community pharmacies and GP-led sites.

The NHS in the Midlands aims to give thousands more jabs each week over the winter months and has launched a recruitment campaign to help deliver the extra doses. New jobs include vaccinators, administrative staff and healthcare support workers – depending on demand in local areas. People can sign up at https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/join-the-nhs-covid-19-vaccine-team/

The NHS is also working with the Royal Voluntary Service and St John, to drum up the support of more than 42,000 volunteers nationally.

Roz Lindridge, the NHS England and NHS Improvement director responsible for overseeing the vaccination programme across the Midlands, said:

“This is an extraordinary achievement and testament to the tireless dedication of NHS staff, pharmacists and volunteers who have made a monumental contribution in protecting the lives of millions of people in the Midlands.

“We’ve seen a remarkable response from the region in the past week as people surged forward for boosters, and soaring public enthusiasm has been more than matched by the NHS staff and volunteer effort. Saturday 18 December was a record-breaking day for the Midlands with the highest number of boosters and vaccines delivered.

“I want to say a huge thank you to NHS staff and volunteers who are working flat out to vaccinate people in the run up to Christmas and it’s great to see that their efforts have been matched by the public’s willingness to get protected. From large centres to small community pharmacies, the whole region is pulling together to get everyone jabbed.

“As the COVID variant, Omicron, continues to spread rapidly, it’s vital we keep that enthusiasm going – and as long as people continue to come forward the NHS will be there to get them vaccinated.”

Matt Day, NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Deputy Director for Healthcare Public Health in the Midlands said:

“Due to the Omicron variant, COVID-19 case rates are again on the rise across the Midlands. I would urge everyone who is eligible – three months on from their second jab – to get their booster as soon as possible. It is our best possible protection against the virus and studies have shown that it reduces your risk of symptomatic disease from the Omicron variant by up to 75%.”

Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said:

“The rollout of the COVID vaccine across the Midlands over the past year has been truly phenomenal, and today’s landmark milestone is a reflection of that.

“The 20 million mark would never have been possible without the determination and dedication of the NHS staff and volunteers across the West Midlands who have worked tirelessly to keep us and our loved ones safe. Without their efforts, many more people across the West Midlands would have tragically lost their lives to this truly awful virus.

“But there is still such a long way to go in the battle against COVID-19, and vaccinations remain the single best defence. To anyone who hasn’t yet had their first, second, or third dose, the NHS is ready and waiting for you. It could protect you from severe illness, and save your family from losing a loved one.”

Every eligible adult can now book in for their lifesaving jab online and given some sites remain busy, the NHS is encouraging people to book in to guarantee their slot. Like all medicines, the COVID vaccines can cause side effects, but any side effects are often mild and short-lived.

Appointments continue to be available over the festive period.

Anyone in the region who has not had their first or second dose is also encouraged to book an appointment as soon as possible.

It’s now even easier for people in the Midlands to get their jab as hundreds of sites are available at convenient locations, including shopping centres, sports grounds and town centres, as well as local pharmacies and GP surgeries.

All eligible people in the Midlands aged 18 and over can use the national booking service or call 119 to make an appointment.

Drop-in vaccination sites can also be found on the NHS online walk-in finder, allowing people to be jabbed without the need for an appointment.

A special video to mark the 20 million vaccination milestone in the Midlands is available at https://youtu.be/NNHtbh58aQs


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