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Preston and South Ribble’s coronavirus infection rates continue to fall as booster vaccine shots may be needed to defend against South African Covid variant

Posted on - 8th February, 2021 - 8:26pm | Author - | Posted in - Fylde News, Health, Politics, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, South Ribble News, Wyre News
Preston's skyline as viewed from Oram Road Pic: Mick Gardner
Preston’s skyline as viewed from Oram Road Pic: Mick Gardner

Preston and South Ribble’s coronavirus infection rates are continuing to fall – although the city now has the highest rate in Lancashire.

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New cases confirmed for Preston on Monday (8 February) were 52.

South Ribble recorded 38 coronavirus cases for the same day.

Wyre was up by just 12, Ribble Valley 18, Fylde 27 new cases and Chorley recorded 22.

Preston’s infection rate is now 348.6 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to February 4, down from 365.4 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to January 28.

See the latest coronavirus cases and information near you

South Ribble’s Covid-19 infection rate is now 307.8 cases per 100,000 people, down from 335.8 cases per 100,000 people – for the same two date periods as Preston.

Wyre is at 207.9, down from 242.7 and Fylde is at 220.4, down from 286.

Ribble Valley is now at 203.7, down from 284.1 and Chorley is now at 223.3 for its infection rate, down from 247.

Read more: Preston’s mass vaccination centre confirmed for former B&M store

Booster vaccine shots ‘may be needed’ against South African variant

The Prime Minister has mounted a defence of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine after concerns were raised it may be less effective against the South African variant.

The Prime Minister said he was “very confident” in the vaccines being used in the UK, while England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van-Tam played down the prospect of the South African mutation becoming the dominant strain.

Professor Van-Tam stressed that it was important to take a jab if offered it now, to protect against the “clear and present danger” posed by the virus currently circulating in the UK, rather than wait for an updated vaccine that might be more effective against the South African variant which is only present in small numbers.

But at a Downing Street press conference he suggested that it was “very much on our radar” that booster shots in the autumn may be required for new variants, in a similar way to seasonal flu vaccines.

See the latest government press conference below

If coronavirus could – like flu – become an illness that is “manageable in the community”, with the most vulnerable protected by vaccines, “we open up a whole way of living normally, much more normally, again in the future”.

The Prime Minister, speaking during a visit to a coronavirus test manufacturer in Derby, did not rule out the possibility of the South African strain delaying the relaxation of lockdown restrictions, but insisted he has “no doubt that vaccines generally are going to offer a way out”.

Where is the nearest vaccination centre to you? See below

Experts warned on Monday it is “very possible” the strain is already quite widespread in the UK, after a study of about 2,000 people suggested the Oxford jab only offers minimal protection against mild disease of the South Africa variant.

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

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