The NHS has confirmed more than 100,000 coronavirus vaccine doses have been given out in North Yorkshire and York in the first official figures for the region.
The figures were revealed by Amanda Bloor, accountable officer at NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, who also confirmed the county hit its target of offering all available care home residents and staff the jab by the end of last week.
Speaking at a briefing this morning, Mrs Bloor said: “We have done 107,752 vaccinations in North Yorkshire and York since the programme started in December.
“That’s a significant chunk of people and really testament to the hard work of those vaccination teams that have stepped up so quickly and responded to the challenge.”
Mrs Bloor added there are a “very small number” of care homes which have not been offered the vaccine because they are dealing with large virus outbreaks and that doses would be delivered as soon as possible.
The vaccine roll-out is now being extended to over 70s and those listed as clinically extremely vulnerable, and Mrs Bloor said she was “confident” the county will meet its target of delivering the first round of jabs to these groups by 15 February.
She said while progress on vaccines offered some hope of being able to ease the lockdown restrictions, the third wave of infections was still placing an ever greater toll on hospitals across the UK.
“We have reached that grim milestone of over 100,000 lives lost,” she told the North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum briefing.
“How much more a starker message do we need around the seriousness of the virus and the consequences that it can wreak on our communities?
“Surely those facts alone, if nothing else, should focus everybody’s behaviour now on complying with guidance to save as many lives as we can.
“I’d urge everybody to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”
The number of coronavirus patients in North Yorkshire’s hospitals currently stands at 504, with 54 in Harrogate, 163 in York, 52 in Scarborough and 235 in South Tees.
Richard Webb, the county’s corporate director for health and adult services, said infection rates had fallen but still remained “too high” as he warned lockdown restrictions may not be lifted anytime soon.
“We can see a scenario unfolding in this coming year with the next three to six months being particularly tough,” he said.
“We are going to see more people vaccinated – that’s great news and will hopefully have an impact on hospital admissions and care homes, but many more of us will still be waiting for the vaccine to be rolled out to the rest of the population.
“We may see a situation in the summer where we see some opening up of our economy and that will be really welcome. But it’s uncertain what we may face in the autumn and winter.
“We know that the chief medical officer has already talked about the need for further vaccinations and potentially further restrictions.
“It’s going to be a difficult year.”