HEALTH chiefs across Hertfordshire and West Essex are pointing to evidence of ‘waning immunity’, as they continue to focus on the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

According to a written report presented to a joint meeting of the East and North Herts, Herts Valleys and West Essex Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) on Thursday (November 25) infection rates “remain high”.

Increased numbers of patients aged 65 and over are now being admitted to hospitals with Covid-19. And says the report, “evidence would suggest waning immunity”.

That is said to have ‘heightened the focus’ on the delivery of booster vaccines – especially in care homes.

According to the report, 73 per cent of all those eligible have now had booster vaccines.

But in care homes it was said that just under 69 per cent of eligible residents had had the booster dose.

It was also reported that additional clinics were being held to increase access to the vaccine for those aged 12 to 15.

Meanwhile, says the report,  seasonal flu vaccinations have also been delivered across the area – with 68 per cent of the over-65s and 30 per cent of the 50-64 year olds having been vaccinated.

And that’s significantly higher than the England average rates of 57 an 19 per cent, respectively.

“Community Pharmacies are heavily supporting the programme and delivering more vaccines than ever this year,” says the report.

“Additional vaccines have been procured by the Department of Health and Social Care and should soon be available in order to maintain momentum and meet demand.”

The report recognises that flu vaccinations for two and three-year-olds is ‘a little behind last year’.

And it says the school-age programme ‘has had a slower start, as a result of the Covid programme for 12-15-year-olds being in place’.

But it says that across Hertfordshire and West Essex plans are in place to accelerate the school-age flu vaccination programme.

Meanwhile ‘steady progress’ is said to have been made on flu vaccination uptake among health and care workers.

And a ‘roving model’ is being used to support flu and Covid vaccination for care home staff and outstanding care home residents.