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Royal Borough vaccine rollout moving 'at considerable pace'

The council’s lead member for health says the borough’s COVID-19 vaccination programme is ‘moving at considerable pace’ as the overall number of jabs given in the region passed 76,000.

Councillor Stuart Carroll (Con, Boyn Hill) was talking at a Maidenhead Town Forum meeting on Monday night, during a week in which 76,102 vaccines have been given so far across the Frimley Health and Care region.

This total is cumulative, meaning it is the amount of first and second doses combined.

Cllr Carroll was asked by Cllr Clive Baskerville (Lib Dem, Pinkneys Green) at the meeting whether there were enough places for people to receive jabs in the Royal Borough.

“Are we lagging behind or are we up with everybody else?” Cllr Baskerville queried.

The health lead said that it was ‘difficult to compare’ this with other areas due to differences in geography.

“We are very much on target in terms of the number of people we want to see vaccinated,” Cllr Carroll said. “In terms of our local rollout, it is moving at considerable pace – so far, so good.

“We can be assured that the vaccination programme is being implemented effectively. It is vital that when people are contacted by the NHS, they swiftly respond.

“Of course, this is being scrutinised daily to ensure the rollout is optimal.”

Maidenhead has one vaccination centre, at the Desborough Suite in the town hall, while another in the borough is operating out of Windsor Racecourse.

Meeting chairman Cllr David Coppinger (Con, Bray) praised the volunteers working at the St Ives Road site, saying he had ‘never seen something move so quickly and so smoothly’.

Cllr Phil Haseler (Con, Cox Green) asked about the new South African variant of COVID-19 and whether there were any cases of it in the Royal Borough.

Questions have also been asked about vaccine effectiveness against several new variants of the disease.

“Our director of public health [for Berkshire] is following up with Public Health England (PHE) to check on any identified cases within the local area,” Cllr Carroll said.

“That is something we hope to able to report on quickly.”

He added that ‘databases’ at PHE need to be checked to ‘validate’ any South African cases here.

On vaccines working against variants, he said: “There is a hypothesis that the vaccine should be effective against different variants.

“To what extent, and percentage, is not known, and that is a function of science and data.”

He added that the UK-made Novavax vaccine ‘did capture data in different variants’ and ‘proved effective'.

“This is something of a benchmark for these vaccines which have already been approved,” Cllr Carroll said.

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