Professor Derek Ward, Lincolnshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, confirmed to Local Democracy Reporters that there were 56 Covid-positive patients in hospital on Wednesday morning, of which 28 were unvaccinated – around half and half.
However, he said the rate of admission for people who had two doses of the vaccine was about 7 per 100,000 of the population, whereas the rate for unvaccinated patients was around 38 per 100,000 population.
“So you’re five times higher if you’ve not had your vaccine and your chances of being admitted to hospital have significantly reduced if you’ve had your vaccine – so go and get it,” he said.
He said the “really positive” news was that Lincolnshire had been on a downward trend in terms of cases with a current infection rate of 405 per 100,000 population compared to the England rate of 440.
The highest rates continue to be in school age children, with primary school ages of 4-11 currently at a rate of 980 and secondary school children at 850.
“So basically, school-based transmission it looks like and certainly school age based transmission.
“We know that the vast majority of kids who get it will have a very mild disease if indeed they’ve got any symptoms and what it’s showing really is the effectiveness of the vaccine.
“So the key message is, everybody must get their vaccine – make sure they complete their two primary doses and then they get their booster.
“The more people that do that, the better and the lower our figures will be.”
However, he said he understood people’s reluctance and fatigue with vaccines and restrictions but said there were “huge swathes” of the planet where people were unvaccinated and so lots of people still had the virus, meaning the likelihood a new variant could escape the vaccines.
“Everybody’s tired,” he said.
“I’m in the office at the moment with all of our public health team and all of our health protection nurses, they’ve been going nonstop for two years, best part of.
“We’re all tired but we,ve just got to keep going. It’s going to be a difficult winter and we need to get through.”
Many are sceptical of the government’s promise that Christmas will not be affected by the virus this year after last minute restrictions at the end of 2020.
Professor Ward warned that if we do not protect ourselves with hands, face, space and vaccines, then the government “may have to make some difficult decisions” around Christmas.
“Looking at the epidemiology and what is happening in Southern Africa. I suspect we’ll be seeing a lot more cases of Omicron as we hit Christmas.
“It just looks like that’s the nature of it. We haven’t seen a massive increase yet and we are looking for it really proactively. But I think as we go through next week and the week after, we’ll start to see a significantly larger number of cases.
“If we do all of that as well as keep testing ourselves, then we’ll delay it as long as we can. If we don’t do that, then it’s going to hit probably just before Christmas and obviously then the government may have to make some difficult decisions.”
Finally, Professor Ward said his big message right now was that if people felt ill or had symptoms they should get a PCR test, not just an LFT.
He said LFTs should be done twice a week ideally and said he would be happy to see PCR testing sites busy even if it is just people with flu getting tested and getting negative results.