THE Covid booster programme is being ramped up in Bicester with the rest of the county in a bid to better protect people from the Omicron Covid variant.

The Bicester GP practices who run the Vaccination Centre at Bicester Heritage have announced they are providing jabs for around 1,500 people at each of the five extra vaccination sessions it will hold between now and Christmas Day.

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These extra sessions - which are not for walk-ins - started yesterday and most will now take place until next Thursday with one on Sunday and then each day from Monday.

Dr Jonathan Holt, a GP partner at Bicester Health Centre and Clinical Director of the Bicester Primary Care Network, said: "All three of the GP practices in Bicester acted quickly and agreed what to do when the Omicron Emergency was declared.

"We’re fortunate that the town’s Vaccination Centre is well set up at the Bicester Heritage site and we’ve been able to swiftly add on additional space to provide jabs for around 1,500 people at each of the five extra vaccination sessions before Christmas.

"We’re confident that the local GP practices staff, supported by the fantastic volunteer stewards, will be able to deliver the latest booster jabs to all those who need them right here in Bicester”.

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People must book their booster jab, as there are no walk-in jabs available.

Dr Holt added: "If you are someone who’s in line for a booster vaccination then you will be contacted first by your Bicester GP practice. Please don’t call the practice – we’ll either text or call you about your jab.

"During this time, when many of our staff are fully engaged on the vaccination programme, all Bicester practices are providing a service for only emergency and most urgent needs. We’re asking all patients for their understanding and support during the Omicron Emergency Boost."

Extra space has been provided at Bicester Heritage to help manage the bigger than usual number of patients who will be attending over the next week.

There were 174 new Covid cases recorded in Cherwell on Tuesday and the case rate per 100,000 people up to December 9 was 760.6.

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South Oxfordshire has the highest Covid rate in the county and third-highest in the whole country at 872.2.

An Oxfordshire County Council spokesperson said: “There is national guidance in place for people to work from home where possible, get the booster jab as soon as they can, test daily if they are a contact and use the Covid pass when attending certain events or venues.

"There is also all of the ongoing advice about wearing face-coverings, ventilating rooms, washing hands and managing the number of people with whom you come in to contact. Each of these thing help reduce the spread of Covid.”

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