Oxfordshire people urged to get the booster jab to protect against Omicron

People in Oxfordshire are being urged to come forward to get their booster jab to give themselves, their families, work colleagues and friends extra protection against the Omicron variant which now represents 95 cent of COVID cases in Oxfordshire.

Cases in Oxfordshire rose to 1,201 per 100,000 of people in the week up to Christmas Eve – a 16 per cent rise on the week before. This represents 8,375 cases in total. There  has also been a significant increase in rates in those aged over 60 and this is the age-group most vulnerable to severe illness from COVID-19  

Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “People will have read or heard about the Omicron variant being milder, however it has to be stressed that this has not yet been categorically proven. What we do know is that people are far more likely to experience milder symptoms if they have had their booster jab. 

“During the week before Christmas and since huge numbers of people have had their booster jab in Oxfordshire and that’s great news. However we also know that there are still people who qualify for that jab who have yet to come forward. My plea would be that they should do so as soon as possible.

 “The booster vaccine is our greatest protection as individuals but also in terms of protecting our friends, families, work colleagues and health and social care workers. Every jab builds our resilience as a community against this new variant.

 “I would also like to thank people for their cautious approach to Christmas celebrations. I know that people have enjoyed a better Christmas than 2020 but they have also managed their contacts in a way that means it has not been the same as all the festive seasons before.

“We would ask people to maintain that level of caution as we look to New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and the winter months ahead. There is still a requirement for people to work from home as much as they can. We would also like to take the chance once more to remind people of all that accumulated pandemic knowledge in terms of what keeps us safe – wear face-coverings, ventilate rooms, test regularly and wash your hands.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish everybody a happy new year and let’s tackle this latest phase of the pandemic together as we move in to 2022.”