10 February - Message from Solihull’s Director of Public Health, Ruth Tennant


The number of infections in the borough remains high, although the Omicron wave appears to be peaking. Now that people do not need to take a confirmatory PCR test, the official numbers may be an under-estimate but our official data shows that there were 2,248 cases in the week 25 - 31 January so there are still high rates of circulating virus.

However, we are moving into a new phase with COVID: there are now far fewer people seriously ill in hospital with the virus, largely as a result of vaccine protection and higher levels of immunity. The plateauing in numbers also suggests that we may be coming through the current wave.

Despite this it’s very likely that the virus will continue to circulate for some time and there remains the possibility of new variants emerging. There are now more treatment options including antivirals, and consequently we are likely to move into a phase where the shift will be towards protecting people who are most vulnerable to COVID as well as continuing to build protection through vaccination.

There have been over two million vaccinations given across Birmingham and Solihull. As well as protecting against the most severe illness and Long-COVID, many countries are now requesting proof of vaccination status. As a result, we know lots of people are getting their first vaccination as they book holidays including getting ready to jet off for the school half term break. 

This week I had the pleasure of showing Dame Emily Lawson DBE, Chief Commercial Officer at NHS England and England Vaccine Deployment lead, around our local vaccination clinic on Solihull High Street and the Community Testing Hub in Mell Square. I feel these services have and continue to demonstrate our commitment to making it as easy as possible for you to protect yourself, your family and your community.  This is part of our continuing work with our NHS colleagues to offer local and convenient services to keep you protected from COVID. 

Every day people are coming forward for their first vaccine and our vaccination teams are always particularly pleased to see them.  We know many people are now recommending vaccination to their friends and family. There are plenty of slots available to book online or to visit a walk-in clinic – I encourage everyone to get this on their ‘to do’ list if they haven’t already.

To book an appointment visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/  or call 119.

Whether this be a first, second, third or booster dose – these do offer you a significant level of protection from COVID. If you are still unsure about whether to have yours, then please speak to medical professionals, listen to the scientists and read reliable and factual sources of information.

If you don’t have transport to get to a vaccination centre then please do call Solihull Council on 0121 704 8058, leave your name and number and a customer services advisor will call you back to book you a free taxi to your pre-booked vaccination appointment (this can be at any vaccination centre in Birmingham or Solihull). Read more about Solihull’s Jab Cab service here.