People across Walsall are being warned of the risks of being unvaccinated against COVID-19 this winter.
Twenty five percent (circa 61,000) of eligible residents in the borough have still not had their first dose of the COVID vaccine. With a grim winter ahead, this could have a devastating impact not just on individuals themselves but also on local NHS services that are already under pressure.
Week on week, there has been a rise in the number of people in Walsall testing positive for COVID-19, being hospitalised and subsequently dying, due to the virus.
In a press conference yesterday (Wednesday 20 October) Health Secretary Sajid Javid urged people to get vaccinated in order to protect the NHS which is currently under huge pressure, with hospitals taking on up to 1,000 new coronavirus patients each day.
Case rates remain high in Walsall (409.5 per 100K of the population) and the number of residents coming forward for their first or second dose of the vaccine has dramatically slowed down.
Nationally, of people who died between January 2021 and July 2021, Covid-19 was responsible for 37.4% of deaths in unvaccinated people. In comparison, this figure was only 0.8% in people who were double vaccinated (Source ONS). In England, unvaccinated people were at least three times as likely to need hospital care in every age group over 18 as vaccinated people, according to the most recent Public Health England data.
The more virus there is circulating, the more chance there is for it to break through the defences of vaccines, reach vulnerable people and put additional pressure on local health services at a time when they have their usual winter pressures.
Stephen Gunther, Director of Public Health at Walsall Council, said:
“Any pain or death from COVID-19 is terribly sad. With vaccines available across the borough, the suffering and loss we continue to see is avoidable.
“Unvaccinated people are much more vulnerable to catching - and becoming seriously ill and dying from - COVID-19. This is compared to people who have received two vaccinations compared to one or no vaccination. Of those currently in hospital in the UK, most are unvaccinated.
“The vaccine is available free of charge and you can walk-in to the Saddlers Vaccination Centre, (WS2 9NW) any day of the week between 8am–7pm to have your vaccine. More drop-in sessions at community venues, pharmacies or places of worship continue to be available across Walsall.”
Councillor Stephen Craddock, Portfolio Holder for Health and Wellbeing said:
“We have a vaccine that prevents serious illness and saves lives from this terrible virus. I would urge anyone who isn’t yet fully vaccinated to come forward. It is not too late
“Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself, your colleagues and your loved ones. It is quick and easy to get the vaccine. Please go and do it as soon as you can.”
In addition to getting vaccinated, you can help prevent COVID-19 from spreading by wearing a face covering in indoor public spaces, improving indoor airflow and ventilation and washing your hands frequently. If you have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 or feel unwell yourself, get a PCR test and self-isolate while you await the results.
All those aged 12 and over can book their vaccination through the NHS booking service. You can also call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm, seven days a week. Alternatively, to find your nearest walk-in vaccination centres, go to the Black Country and West Birmingham CCG website.
Notes to editors
- Some deaths are expected in vaccinated individuals as the number of people who are vaccinated is high and no vaccine is 100% effective. Between 2 January and 2 July 2021, there were 640 deaths involving COVID-19 in people who had received both vaccine doses, which is 1.2% of all deaths involving COVID-19 in that period (51,281 deaths).
There were 458 deaths involving COVID-19 in people who received their second dose at least 21 days before the date of death. Deaths involving COVID-19 accounted for 0.8% of all deaths in this group, compared with 37.4% in unvaccinated individuals. Read more on Deaths involving COVID-19 by vaccination status, England - Office for National Statistics