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Wansford doctor Rhiannon Nally calls on people in the Stamford area to have covid booster jabs

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A family GP is calling on people to have their covid booster to cut the risk of falling seriously ill.

Dr Rhiannon Nally from the Wansford and King’s Cliffe Practice says only 32 out of 84 covid jab appointment slots were booked at the surgery on Monday.

Yet nearly a third of people who received a first vaccination have not had a booster.

Dr Rhiannon Nally, lead research nurse Lorraine Archer and research co-ordinator Laura Costello
Dr Rhiannon Nally, lead research nurse Lorraine Archer and research co-ordinator Laura Costello

“I think some people believe the Omicron variant is quite mild and they are also fed up with hearing about it,” said Dr Nally.

“What they are not recognising is that it is still a serious health concern.

“The bottom line is, eight or nine out of 10 people in intensive care with covid are not vaccinated.”

Superintendent pharmacist at the Wansford and Kings Cliffe Practice, Sanjay Patel
Superintendent pharmacist at the Wansford and Kings Cliffe Practice, Sanjay Patel

She added that six months after vaccination, protection drops to ‘60 per cent’ but after a booster it rises to ‘80 per cent’.

The Wansford and King’s Cliffe practice currently provides vaccinations for over 18s at its pharmacy in Yarwell Road, Wansford. People do not need to be registered at the surgery to go there for a covid jab.

Dr Nally said the low turnout for vaccinations was particularly disappointing because they have suspended many routine appointments at the surgery to allow staff to support the vaccination drive, which means people with other important health concerns may not be seen so quickly.

“We are also going to have vaccine supplies going out of date before they are used, which is not right when other places in the world do not have enough available.”

Take up for flu jabs has also fallen short, according to Dr Nally. The vaccine is available to all people aged 50 or over by March 31 this year, to pregnant women and to patients with long-term health conditions.

According to the NHS, more people are likely to catch flu because fewer have built up natural immunity during the covid pandemic.Flu is especially dangerous if contracted with covid.

“You can get flu and covid together, and if you do the outcomes are poor,” said Dr Nally.

“Those people tend to end up in intensive care.”

While covid vaccination centres, such as the one in Wansford, are open to people from across the area, each GP surgery’s winter flu jab supply must be given to its own patients.

Some pharmacies also offer winter flu vaccinations, and if a person is not eligible to have one for free, they can purchase a dose, to be administered by a pharmacist.

To book a covid jab visit www.nhs.uk. Those without access to the internet should telephone 119.

Will you take part in covid research?

Vital clinical research is being carried out at a research centre based in Wansford.

Patients who contract Covid-19 are being invited to take part in a study into the effects of the anti-viral drug Molnupiravir.

Half of the patients will be given the drug, which inhibits the replication of certain RNA viruses, and the other half will be given a placebo.

Lorraine Archer, who leads the research team at the Wansford and King’s Cliffe Practice, said they will monitor up to 100 patients on the ‘Panoramic’ trial, which is being run by the University of Oxford and forms part of a wider study of 15,000 people with covid.

She added: “They are trying to find an anti-viral drug to reduce hospitalisation and the severity of symptoms some people experience.

“It is a randomised trial, but if someone contracts covid and wants the chance to be given a drug currently only available to those in a ‘high risk’ health category, they can sign up.”

The study is open to people aged over 50 who receive a positive PCR test and have symptoms that started in the past five days. Younger people with underlying health conditions are also eligible.

People can participate in the trial in their own home with no face-to-face visits needed. To find out more, visit www.panoramictrial.org

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