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Hospital admissions spike in England as pharmacies deliver vaccine

Hospital admissions spike in England as pharmacies deliver vaccine

dpa
London 
England’s hospital admission rate for Covid-19 patients soared to 20 percent higher in December than during the first peak of the country’s Covid-19 epidemic, figures released on Thursday suggest.
National Health Service medical director Professor Stephen Powis said nearly 23,000 people diagnosed with Covid-19 were being treated in hospitals at the end of December.
There are currently around 13,000 more people in hospital with Covid-19 across the country than in April.
A total of 242,307 Covid-positive patients have been treated by the NHS in England since the outbreak began.
The figures were published on the same day pharmacies in England started rolling out Covid-19 vaccines to patients as part of an effort to speed up the number of people being inoculated against the disease.
Chain stores Boots and Superdrug as well as a number of independent pharmacies were administering the vaccines from Thursday, the NHS said, with a total of six launching the scheme first.
That figure will expand to 70 next week and “hundreds” by the end of the month.
“Pharmacists are playing a key role in the fight against Covid-19 and this is a welcome step towards their skills being used more widely to support vaccinations in their local communities,” Professor Claire Anderson, chairman of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s English Pharmacy Board said.
Pharmacies in Wales are due to begin vaccine roll outs this week while the Northern Irish health department told dpa talks were ongoing to decide a date. Scotland has yet to confirm when their schemes will launch.
Earlier on Thursday, England’s health agency said people who have been previously infected with Covid-19 can have immunity for up to five months afterwards but could still pass it on to others.
Public Health England said it has been testing tens of thousands of health workers across Britain since June for antibodies.
Its researchers have found people can be up to 83-per-cent protected against the virus after being previously infected with Covid-19. The protection then appears to last for five months. Between June 18 and November 24, scientists detected 44 potential reinfections - two “probable” and 42 “possible” reinfections - out of 6,614 participants who had tested positive for antibodies.  But early evidence from the next stage of the study suggests some people carry high levels of the virus and could transmit it to others.
Professor Susan Hopkins, senior medical advisor at Public Health England and leader of the study, said: “We now know that most of those who have had the virus, and developed antibodies, are protected from reinfection, but this is not total and we do not yet know how long protection lasts. Crucially, we believe people may still be able to pass the virus on.” The team has not yet investigated immune responses from the Covid-19 vaccines, which began being rolled out in Britain in November. They will investigate people’s bodily reactions to vaccines later in the year.
According to the latest figures from the British government, more than 3.2 million people have tested positive for Covid-19 in the four nations since the outbreak began.
On Wednesday, Boris Johnson told a committee scrutinizing his government’s handling of the pandemic that he was “concerned” about a new variant of coronavirus in Brazil.
Afterwards, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced a crackdown on international arrivals to England.
From Monday at 0400 GMT, passengers will be required to provide proof of a negative coronavirus test before departing to England.
Anyone without proof of a negative test with receive a 500-pound (680-dollar) fine.
He later announced a travel ban for all arrivals from Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Portugal, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela from Friday at 0400 GMT. The ban does not apply to British or Irish citizens returning from the countries, but they must self-isolate with their households for 10 days, he added.

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