Coronavirus in Portsmouth: Boost in Covid-19 vaccinations and drop in Queen Alexandra Hospital patients are 'giving hope'

A BOOST in the number of pensioners vaccinated in Portsmouth and drop in Covid-19 patients being admitted to hospital are together giving people hope, a politician has said.

Thursday, 4th March 2021, 9:39 pm

Latest figures from NHS England show some 95 per cent of over-65s in Portsmouth had received a jab as of February 28.

About 97 per cent of over-65s have been vaccinated in Gosport, Havant and Fareham.

It comes as the number of Covid-19 patients in beds at Queen Alexandra Hospital has roughly halved in just over a month.

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Wendy Peters giving Jackie Blake a vaccination jab at St James Hospital, Portsmouth on February 17. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Figures published by NHS England show there were 192 patients with coronavirus at the Cosham hospital as of March 2, with 22 on mechanical ventilation.

This is a dramatic drop from 391 patients on January 28 - and a far cry from the peak of 539 earlier in the same month.

Research published this week found a single dose of the Pfizer or Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine cut hospital admissions in the over-80s by 80 per cent.

But Chris Evans, chief operating officer at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, warned the site is still at a ‘high occupancy’.

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He said: ‘It is incredibly reassuring to see a slow, but steady reduction in the number of Covid-19 cases within the communities that PHU serves and as these numbers reduce, we hope to see a further reduction in the number of patients with Covid-19 needing inpatient care.

‘However we are still at high occupancy and we all have a role to play including making sure we use the right services.’

He urged anyone needing urgent care to call NHS 111 if the issue is not life threatening.

‘We also urge our communities to continue to follow the government guidance and remember hands, face, space,’ he said.

Councillor David Fuller, chair of the city council’s health overview and scrutiny panel, said the vaccine is giving people hope.

He has been supporting St James’ Hospital and Laly’s Pharmacy in their vaccine programmes.

Cllr Fuller said: ‘There’s a lot of people using the service and it’s absolutely brilliant.

‘They’re really rolling it out very, very quickly and it’s giving us hope.’

He thinks the ‘majority of people’ are taking up the vaccine offer and sceptics can now see how a drop in people being admitted to hospital with Covid.

Some 13 people were admitted to QA Hospital on February 28, compared to the often 50 a day in early January.

‘I don’t think it takes the brains of Britain to understand that the roll-out is a big success,’ Cllr Fuller said.

Solent NHS Trust is running Hampshire’s community vaccination programme – with 597,846 people having received their first dose by February 28.

Chief operating officer David Noyes said: ‘We are really proud to be playing a key role in the NHS’s biggest ever vaccination programme. Across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, more than half a million people have received their first dose of the Covid-19 vaccination.

‘We are now welcoming people aged 60 and over to our four large-scale vaccination centres.

‘They can reserve a slot via the national booking service online or by calling 119. We have appointments available seven days a week, between 8am and 8pm and people can choose the centre which best suits them.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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