Council wants over 16s to be jabbed as ‘Indian Covid Variant’ doubles


Bedford Borough Council is calling for vaccines to be made available for over 16s in the Borough as cases of COVID-19 rise rapidly including the appearance of a variant of concern.

The Council has been notified of a number of cases of a COVID-19 Variant of Concern (first identified in India) with mounting evidence that this variant is spreading rapidly in the borough.

According to the latest Bedford Borough snapshot, the COVID-19 case rate per 100,000 people in the population in Bedford Borough has more than doubled to 84.3 from 39.8 in just one week and the rise in cases is mostly among people aged under 40, with the highest increase among those aged 11-22.

Working with Public Health England and the DHSC, the Council has arranged targeted testing of close contacts and affected educational settings to identify any further COVID-19 positive cases, ensure people know to self-isolate and help slow the spread.

With cases rapidly rising and further restrictions being lifted next week, the Council is calling on the government to vaccinate over 16s to reduce the spread of the virus and protect local residents.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “Cllr Louise Jackson, Portfolio Holder for Public Health and I have written a joint letter to the Chair of the COVID-19 Immunisation, Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment expressing our deep concern about the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases locally.

“We need a vaccination programme to be rolled out for all residents aged 16 and over in the Borough to protect our residents, especially in light of some lockdown restrictions being lifted from Monday, May 17.

“We also consider it vital that a vaccine for children under 16 should be licenced as soon as possible.”