Chiefs unite for Christmas Covid-19 rallying cry

Published: Wednesday, 22 December 2021

*Shared in partnership with Leicestershire County Council

Chiefs across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland have united once more to call on people to get their booster jab, and think about who they’re mixing with, as cases of Omicron soar.

The plea comes as councils, police, fire and NHS partners are stepping up work to manage a local surge in COVID which has seen just under 7,000 cases in the last week, a rise of 20 per cent compared to the previous seven days.

As part of a co-ordinated effort, fire officers are set to knock on doors in priority areas to encourage people to get their vaccine.

Chief Fire and Rescue Officer, Callum Faint, said: We’re proud to support our NHS colleagues in any way we can with the vaccination programme. This amongst other activities may include uniformed officers knocking on doors and talking to people about the steps they can take.”

Ivan Browne, Director of Public Health for Leicester City Council, said: “We know that cases of Omicron are rising across the country and also here in Leicester. We also know that a vaccine booster gives you the best protection possible against it, so it’s vital to get your jabs as soon as you are eligible.”

Deborah Taylor, Leicestershire County Council’s deputy leader, said: "We know that two jabs offer little or no protection against Omicron, so the advice is clear – get boosted as soon as you can, even if that means bringing your appointment forward."

Director of public health for Leicestershire and Rutland, Mike Sandys, said: “We don’t know whether Omicron will lead to more people in hospital. But we do know it will lead to many more people being unwell and off sick – and that will put unbelievable pressure on essential services.

“To try to slow the spread, I’d ask people to think long and hard about who they mix with over the coming weeks. I know this is difficult. But not mixing more than we have to and prioritising the gatherings will help hold back the wave of infection that is happening right now.”

NHS leaders are also warning of the pressure the vaccination programme puts on health services over the next two weeks, urging people to make the right choice if they need help.

Andy Williams, chief executive of the local NHS commissioning group, said: “Jabs in arms is our number one priority for the next 10 days. But if people need help, they will get it. We’re open for emergency issues and urgent care.

“By choosing the right source of help – whether that’s a local pharmacy, the NHS website, or 111 – people will help us deliver the booster programme.”

There have been some challenges with the national booking system on the NHS website, so NHS leaders are asking people to check the local website for the latest drop-in clinics or bookable appointments.