THOUSANDS more walk-in Covid vaccination slots are being made available as concern grows over the level of uptake and rocketing infection rates.

Parts of Teesside have the highest infection rates in the country prompting the NHS to work with councils and partners to increase the number of jab options.

Middlesbrough has the highest rate of Covid infections in England, with the rest of Teesside close behind.

Read more: Highest rates of Covid in England recorded in Middlesbrough

Public health officials are trying to increase vaccine uptake, mobilising extra vaccine busses and increasing walk-in slots at the Riverside Stadium.

GP surgeries and pharmacies are continuing to work round the clock to increase vaccine uptake.

Last week more than 2,500 people come forward for their first vaccine.

However, there are still more than 100,000 people eligible for a first vaccine who are yet to come forward. 

A joint statement from the Directors of Public Health from Teesside, covering Middlesbrough, Stockton and Redcar and Cleveland said: “It’s a major concern at the moment that we have thousands of people who have not been vaccinated at a time when our Covid infection rates are sky high.

“The threat of the Omicron variant is serious. we would urge people not to take the chance and make the mistake of assuming they would get away with mild symptoms.

“We have hundreds of people in local hospitals at the moment requiring urgent medical treatment. The patients in critical care are largely unvaccinated.

“Being vaccinated is the single most important thing people can do to protect themselves. It’s not too late to decide to come forward for your free, safe and effective jabs.

“Thanks to the efforts of the NHS and partners across Tees Valley, including the MFC Foundation, we have thousands of walk-in slots available this month and health professionals on hand to talk to you.

“Having your first, second and booster jabs as well as following public health measures can help you live life as normally as possible in the months ahead.

“We know that the government is looking at whether the booster will be needed for the NHS Covid pass in the future.

“Being vaccinated protects you, those around you and lets you plan ahead to live your life as you want to.”

Across Tees Valley there are 105,910 people who are eligible for their first vaccine that have not yet come forward, 11,228 that are eligible for their second vaccine that have not come forward and 114,435 people who still need their booster.

The challenges posed by the speed of the spread of Omican are being felt across the region.

Health leaders are watching closely at the case rates and if they turn into severe disease and hospitalisations.

Professor Neil Watson who leads up the Covid vaccination programme said, “Since Omicron arrived towards the end of last year, we’ve been trying to understand it.

“What we do know is that two doses of Astra Zeneca, Pfizer or Moderna were less effective against Omicron than other variants that have presented. With three vaccines the response to the virus was much greater.

“Omicron is very much still widely in circulation and this is why we are asking people to come forward and get their booster before the end of January, so they have maximum protection.

He added, “There’s plenty of vaccine available for everyone.”

Anyone 12 years and above across the region are being urged to either book or walk into vaccination sites by the end of January to protect themselves.

Appointments for these sites can be booked through the National Booking Service website or by calling 119 between 7am and 11pm daily.

Specific walk-in services can be found in Teesside here, with further walk-in clinics being added across Tees Valley as the rollout continues, with no appointment needed.

Visit for details. 

Other local authorities are also continually updating their websites and social pages as they, too increase availability in a bid to get as many people vaccinated as possible, to give better protection against the virus.

People are being asked to remember to cancel their online booking if they choose to attend a walk-in clinic after making an appointment at a large vaccination centre, GP led clinic or community pharmacy site.

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