As hospital numbers rise from the impact of the Covid-19 Omicron variant, the region’s leaders are urging people to renew their resolution to get vaccinated and boosted.
They are also engaged in surge planning to maintain critical services in the coming weeks.
Residents across North Yorkshire and York redoubled their efforts to turn up to vaccination sites and get boosted over Christmas, but numbers coming forward have now dipped despite the Omicron spike and increasing hospitalisations.
Cases have been surging across the region since the turn of the year and there are currently more than 2,400 people with Covid-19 in Yorkshire and North East hospitals – the most since last February.
However, many of those who are needing hospital treatment because of Covid-19 have not been vaccinated or have not had their Covid-19 booster.
Health and care leaders say booster vaccines remain the best line of defence against serious illness caused by coronavirus.
There are approximately 90,000 people in North Yorkshire and York who currently meet the eligibility criteria for a booster jab but have not yet received the top-up vaccine.
Amanda Bloor, Accountable Officer for the NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group said:
"There are lots of walk-in and booked appointments now available for booster vaccinations as we go into 2022. I would encourage everyone to take up the offer and make arrangements as they become eligible.”
Louise Wallace, North Yorkshire’s Director of Public Health said that the rate per 100,000 of the population for North Yorkshire (1623) and York (1698) was fast approaching the England average (1769).
“These rates are unprecedented, higher than any since the start of the pandemic. But there is much we can do to protect each other.
“The priority is for all eligible people to get boosted and vaccinated and also to follow essential public health guidance as we head into the difficult winter months - wear face masks when required; keep rooms ventilated and open to fresh air when meeting indoors, wash hands regularly and take a test when you go out to meet people.
“We need to pull together on this and each and every one of us can play our part. Please act now to protect yourselves, your loved ones and the county’s businesses and public services.”
The NHS is redoubling its effort to remind people that vaccination is an evergreen offer.
Amanda Bloor added:
"If you're one of those people who were initially hesitant about getting vaccinated against COVID-19 but have since changed your mind, it's not too late to come forward. The vaccination remains available to everyone 12 and over and I would encourage those who have not yet received a vaccination to take up the offer to protect themselves and others.
“Boosters are available to people aged 18 and over and 16 and 17-year-olds who are at high risk from COVID-19, together with frontline health and care workers, three months on from their second vaccine dose.
“We've seen extremely high take-up across all parts of North Yorkshire and York and even over the festive period, people came forward in their thousands for their booster or third vaccine dose.
"We are hugely grateful to our NHS and pharmacy colleagues and the scores of volunteers who gave up their time over the holiday period, as well as the thousands who came forward for their vaccination.
“The booster programme in our area continues to be a huge success story, with 68 per cent of the population aged 12 and over in North Yorkshire (almost 400,000 people) and 58.4 per cent of the population aged 12 and over in York (more than 114,000) now triple-jabbed – among the highest rates in the country.”
“Government data shows Hambleton is at the very top of the England leader board with 73.7 per cent of those aged 12 and over receiving their booster or third dose.
"We now need each and every eligible person to come forward. The vaccination remains the best way to protect ourselves, and those we love, against serious illness and hospitalisation so that we can continue to enjoy the freedoms we are currently experiencing and reduce pressure on our NHS.”