Almost 1,000 vulnerable people at risk of serious illness and hospitalisation from COVID-19 have now been treated with new lifesaving medicines by the NHS in the North West.
This has contributed to 10,000 people nationally being treated with these medicines since the launch of the scheme in December.
Seven COVID Medicine Delivery Units (CMDUs) have been set up across the North West to deliver the medicines to treat the highest risk patients – including those who have received organ transplants, some cancer patients and those with Down’s syndrome, if they test positive following a PCR test.
Locally there are CMDUs located at South Shore Primary Care Centre in Lytham Road, Blackpool, and the Royal Preston Hospital Vaccination Centre at Sharoe Green Lane.
Trials suggest sotrovimab reduces the risk of hospitalisation and death in high risk patients with COVID-19 by 79 per cent and early data suggests it is effective against the Omicron variant, according to manufacturer GSK.
Eryl, 63, from Lancaster, tested positive for COVID-19 at the beginning of the year. She has suffered from rheumatoid arthritis for many years. She had shielded during the pandemic and was very worried about catching the disease.
“I became something of a COVID-19 detective and was aware of the new treatments on offer from some information put out by my GP practice. I had huge feelings of dread and worry when the two lines came up on my test – and it was over a bank holiday.
“However, once I spoke to the team at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary and went in to have my infusion it was a massive relief – as massive as the fear I had when I tested positive. I had no side effects and I am now going to raise awareness at my local Pilates class so people are aware of the treatments available.”
Dr Michael Gregory, Medical Director for Commissioning, NHS England and NHS Improvement North West Region is one of the regional leads for the service.
He said: “While these latest treatments represent another weapon in our arsenal to reduce the risk of patients at highest risk of becoming seriously ill and needing hospitalisation from COVID-19, it is important to remember these will not work in isolation.
“The general public should still ensure that we give each other space – two metres is best – wash our hands more often and cover our face with a face mask or covering, particularly in busy indoor areas.
“Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect you and your loved ones from getting COVID-19 and I would urge everyone to come forward to get your first, second or booster jab.
“Those who may be eligible for this treatment have been contacted by the NHS and if they test positive for COVID-19 a further assessment will be carried out to make sure that these medicines are suitable for them.”