My obvious headline this week is that 16 and 17-year-olds can now get their coronavirus jabs. Nearly 1,500 young people in Solihull have had theirs. Thank you to all of them.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid has announced that all young people aged 16 to 17 in England are being offered a first dose of vaccine in time for the start of the school year in September.
This is very good news, opening up access to vaccinations for that younger group who will be able to enjoy getting out and about, confident they’re not putting older relatives at risk.
With most new cases currently still showing in the under-24s, it’s a welcome move.
So do please take up the opportunity as soon as you can and encourage your friends to do the same.
Vaccinations will be available from one of more than 800 GP-led local vaccination sites and NHS England has launched a new online walk-in site finder for the nearest available centre.
Further sites will come online over the coming days and weeks and you can always find the latest local vaccination information here.
Latest government data shows vaccines have already saved around 84,600 lives and prevented 23.4 million infections and 66,900 hospitalisations in England.
We know it’s our way through this - and we will continue to keep doing all we can to get everyone in Solihull double-jabbed.
This is particularly important for pregnant women, who are the focus of public health information campaigns across the country.
We know the virus can be especially dangerous if you’re pregnant, with a higher risk of complications and hospitalisation.
I would encourage anyone who is pregnant to get vaccinated urgently and do talk to your midwife or doctor if you still have any questions.
Infection rates here in Solihull are declining but it’s clear that areas with lowest rates of vaccination also have the highest COVID rates – clear evidence that good uptake of vaccine works.
Thanks to the hundreds of you who have taken the opportunity to grab a jab earlier this week while the vaccine van was at Mell Square – we’ll let you know when it’s due to be in the borough again.
Everyone can still of course make vaccine appointments online through the National Booking Service or by calling 119.
Finally, if you’re out and about this weekend, at a festival or event, please protect yourself and other people going by testing before you go. We have seen increases in cases in parts of the country linked to festivals: testing – and double vaccination – helps keep our events and everyone who goes to them – safe.
Thank you to all the local event organisers who are promoting these important messages.
Remember if a PCR test confirms you have COVID, we can offer financial support when you self-isolate. We have increased the threshold on the scheme so that you can access funds if you earn up to £26,000. We can also provide other help and support; you can find out more here.
Director of Public Health, Solihull Council
Below are useful links to find out where you can get a vaccine, how to book, and how to get a test.
- Birmingham & Solihull NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Service – Birmingham & Solihull NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Service (birminghamandsolihullcovidvaccine.nhs.uk)
- What you need to know – Birmingham & Solihull NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Service (birminghamandsolihullcovidvaccine.nhs.uk)
- The NHS is also contacting people to bring forward second vaccination appointments, or rebook yourself on the National Booking Service.
- Access tests at our community test sites in Chelmsley Wood, next to the bus interchange, or Solihull High Street next to Halifax Bank.
- There are options to suit everyone – walk in and ask for an assisted test, collect a kit to test at home, order online for free home delivery or pick up a pack from participating local pharmacies.
- If you should get a positive rapid test result it’s vital to get a confirmatory PCR test within 48 hours. Check the Covid-19 mobile testing unit timetable or book via the national PCR test booking system.
- Full government guidance on new rules around self-isolation is here.