Coronavirus in Portsmouth: Queen Alexandra Hospital medical director urges people to 'change behaviour' as vaccine hub reopens

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A SENIOR doctor in Portsmouth has said the community must slow the spread of Covid this winter by ‘changing our behaviour’.

It comes as more booster appointments are being made available as Queen Alexandra Hospital’s vaccine hub reopens to the public.

The Oasis Centre at the Cosham hospital will be used as site for the public if the book through the national NHS website or 119.

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GP surgeries and pharmacies, as well as the St James Hospital vaccine centre, are ramping up their capacity.

Prime minister Boris Johnson has said all adults should be offered a booster jab before the end of the year.

QA’s medical director Dr John Knighton today warned people should help slow the spread of Covid ‘by changing our behaviour’.

In a series of tweets he said: ‘Last winter, 60 per cent of our beds were filled with Covid patients.

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‘ICU expanded from 19 to > 60 V patients. Staff worked beyond exhaustion to keep pts safe. We are preparing to do the same again imminently.’

He added: ‘Prioritise contacts that are most important to you. Wear a mask, wash hands, slow the spread of omicron & get vacc’d.

‘We need now to protect each other and the NHS, while we ready ourselves.

‘Vaccination and a booster dose absolutely vital to reducing risks of omicron.

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‘They are NOT the only necessary measure though: we must help slow spread by changing our behaviour.’

More than 3.4m vaccines have been done in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight since the programme launched a year ago.

Penny Emerit, chief executive at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, said: ‘Just over a year since we opened the hospital hub at Queen Alexandra Hospital as the first Covid vaccination centre in Hampshire and Isle of Wight, we are proud to once again play our part in supporting the national vaccination drive.

‘While we have been offering booster jabs to our staff for some time now, the hub, which re-opens next week to the general public, will help to improve availability of the booster jab to our local communities.

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‘As many of you will know, Portsmouth was particularly hard hit during the second wave and we are seeing an increasing number of unvaccinated patients requiring a stay with us.

‘This, plus the rise of the new Omicron variant, means it is more important than ever for people to get their booster jab and help protect themselves, their loved ones and our health services this winter.’

Dr Matt Nisbet, GP and clinical lead for the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the county, added: ‘Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for their efforts so far and for their dedication and professionalism in stepping up to meet this challenge.

‘Scaling up capacity to ensure everyone eligible can receive their life-saving COVID-19 vaccination or booster is key in tackling the emerging threat of the new Omicron variant.

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‘These additional locations and slots across primary care, pharmacies and hospital hubs and community services will be vital in ensuring everyone has access to the vaccine.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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