Amid warnings that Covid-19 rates could rise as the country leaves lockdown, people are being urged to get their life saving vaccine as soon as they are able to.

England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has warned that, “at some point”, the country will have another surge in the virus amid the easing of lockdown restrictions – which will ultimately lead to more hospital admissions and deaths.

The vaccine is currently available to anyone aged 55 and over; anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable; frontline health and social care workers; and people who are in receipt of Carer's Allowance or are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if their carer falls ill. It will be rolled out to further priority groups in due course.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "It's very likely that the easing of restrictions over the coming weeks will lead to an increase in Covid-19 infection rates.

"That is to be expected because, as we leave lockdown, people will be able to move about more freely and they will have more opportunities to come into contact with one another.

“Unfortunately, any increase in the infection rate will also lead to an increase in hospital admissions and, tragically, deaths. That's why, as we start to leave lockdown, it is crucial that everyone gets their jab as soon as they are eligible for it.

“We know that the vaccine offers a high level of protection against Covid-19 and is also very effective at preventing the spread of the virus.

"Around 90,000 vaccinations have already been given in Wolverhampton and that number is going to increase rapidly as more people become eligible for their first jab and others go back for their second dose. Please remember that, for maximum protection, you must get both doses of the vaccine, so don't miss your second appointment." 

For more information about the vaccine, including the answers to frequently asked questions, please visit Covid-19 Vaccine. People will need to register with a GP surgery in England in order to receive the vaccine. For more details, please visit NHS - GPs

Latest figures show there were 58.8 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the 7 days to 12 March. That means 155 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that 7 day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be higher.

Councillor Jaspal added: “Even if you've had both doses of the vaccine, you must continue to follow Government guidance. Keep your distance from others, wear a face covering, wash your hands or use hand sanitiser regularly. Make sure you get a PCR test if you have symptoms of Covid-19, like a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to your sense of taste or smell, and have a regular rapid test if you don't."

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at GOV.UK and on the council’s own coronavirus pages. Information about the vaccine can be found at Covid-19 Vaccine. Further details of the restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at COVID Alert.