Bedford Borough Council’s Local Outbreak Engagement Board has been told there have been 242,055 doses of COVID-19 vaccines given out in Bedford Borough.
Dan Ibeziako, head of engagement, communications and marketing at Bedfordshire Luton and Milton Clinical Commissioning Group (BLMK CCG), gave the update last week (28 October).
They were also told that across the BLMK CCG area, over 75 per cent of the population have had their first dose, and 69 per cent have had their second.
Mr Ibeziako said: “Our current focus is for the booster programme, which is running alongside our seasonal flu vaccination programme.
“We are now offering walk-ins for our booster programme, we’ve done 10,316 vaccinations [in the Borough].
“The CCG has a dedicated web page around this programme, which details eligibility, and has a series of frequently asked questions.”
Mr Ibeziako said the vaccination programme hopes to have visited every elderly care home in the area by October 31, just ahead of its target date.
“We will have visited every care home, we would have not necessarily have vaccinated every resident for a number of reasons.”
He added that there will be return visits to try these residents again.
The board was told that BLMK CCG is looking to simplify its message around booster eligibility. It will use an event as a guide instead of the previous over six months or 182 days since the second dose messages
At the moment it is using Easter, and later in the year, it will be Eid.
Bedford mayor, Dave Hodgson felt that using a festival that moves from year to year, was confusing.
He said: “I find it a confusing message as opposed to a simplified message [of a fixed date].
“Can’t we just call people when it’s their time?”
Mr Ibeziako said: “We have messaged previously around six months and 182 days. We’ve been asked to try to simply do that.
“We’ll keep talking about other notable events that people might remember.
“This is the feedback to what people are saying around, ‘well 182 days, when was that?’
The board was told that the programme to vaccinate 1-to 15-year-olds in schools has begun and that there are “walk-in” slots at dedicated times (4 – 6 pm) at vaccination centres across BLMK.
These are in addition to the dedicated school visit programme.
Mr Ibeziako said: “Getting vaccinated is the most important thing that we can do to protect ourselves, our homes, and our communities.
“We have a range of options available to enable people to get themselves vaccinated.”
Details can be found on the BLMK CCG website.
by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter