Health bosses in Lincolnshire are urging people to bring their COVID-19 vaccines forward following the change in dosing strategy announced by the Prime Minister earlier this week.
Among a raft of new changes, Boris Johnson on Monday confirmed that Britons under the age of 40 would be offered their second coronavirus vaccine at eight weeks instead of the previous 12.
The move is an attempt to get all adults vaccinated by the winter. Leaders are also looking at bringing in a third vaccine dose for the over-50s later this year.
Lincolnshire County Council’s Director for Public Health Professor Derek Ward said there had been a 15-fold increase in cases between the end of May and the beginning of June and there was “no question the rates are going up”.
“Number one is getting a vaccine, all the evidence says that even one dose is going to reduce both the chances of you getting it but if you do get it then the chances of you getting a severe disease.
“The quicker we can get two doses, the better. The Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) change to safe for younger people, rather than wait 12 weeks between two doses wait eight weeks makes perfect sense.”
The latest figures show that vaccinations have dropped by half in the last two weeks as the latest figures show nearly 70% of Lincolnshire adults have now had their second jab.
The latest vaccination data released on Thursday shows that there have been 979,053 cumulative doses of the coronavirus vaccine in Lincolnshire between December 8 and July 4.
This is a rise of 17,488 from last week — 10,327 fewer than the 27,815 jabs given in the previous week and half the vaccinations of the previous week’s 33,649 total.
Professor Ward added: “In younger people where your immune response is going to be pretty good regardless – the benefits of having two doses, slightly quicker will outweigh the slightly better immune response you might get for that extra four week gap.”
He, in particular, urged unpaid carers to get their vaccine.
“What we’ve got to remember is that the entire country would fall over without unpaid carers, doing what they do.”
“They are massively important to allow the NHS to functional our social care to function, we’ve got to look after them,” he said.
Elsewhere, Professor Ward said the rules around face coverings should have been kept as the county sees increasing case numbers.
“If you look at the seven days between the end of May and the beginning of June, we had 100 cases in Lincolnshire. If you look at the current seven days, we’ve got 1,500, so we’ve seen a 15-fold increase in our numbers.
“Now it’s still only 1,500 out of three quarters of a million people but there’s no question that the rates going up.”
He said he could not predict how high numbers could go, but that they would be certain to rise once restrictions were lifted – though he hoped they would not reach the same levels as last November.
However, he backed changes to school rules which will see the end of bubbles – despite cases in schools tripling.
“I would have potentially brought that in sooner, because I think we all seen a lot of children young people miss out on school because they are deemed to be close contacts,” he said.