Local boost in fight against Covid
Nearly 30,000 people in the West Lothian and Falkirk council areas have received a booster dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the last three weeks, new figures show.
It comes after scientists told the Government boosters are highly effective against hospitalisation for older adults, with second booster jabs for the most vulnerable ruled out for now.
Data from the UK coronavirus dashboard shows 15,900 people in West Lothian received a booster or a third vaccine dose between December 20 and January 9, bringing the total number of people there to get a third shot to 101,321 – 64 per cent of people aged 12 and over in the area.
And, the dashboard also shows 13,486 people received a booster or a third vaccine dose in the Falkirk Council area during the same time period, bringing the number of local third shots to 94,288 – 67 per cent of people aged 12 and over. Across the UK, 35.7 million people have now had a booster or third jab – 62 per cent of over-12s.
Meanwhile, data from the UK Health Security Agency shows boosters are 90 per cent effective against admission to hospital from the Omicron variant for the over-65s. Protection for those with two doses dropped to about 70 per cent after three months and 50 per cent after six months.
Professor Wei Shen Lim, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s chairman of Covid-19 immunisation, said the data emphasised the “value of a booster jab”.
He said: “The current data show the booster dose is continuing to provide high levels of protection against severe disease, even for the most vulnerable older age groups.
“For this reason, the committee has concluded there is no immediate need to introduce a second booster dose, though this will continue to be reviewed.”
As the highly infectious Omicron variant continues to spread, scientists are also looking into the possibility of reducing the isolation period for Covid-19 cases from seven to five days, to reduce the staffing crisis across sectors including health, education and public transport.
In Scotland, people are also advised to limit gatherings to no more than three households.