Opinion: ‘How vaccine rollout is working’

A nursing home resident receives the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP via Getty ImagesA nursing home resident receives the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP via Getty Images
A nursing home resident receives the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP via Getty Images
Peterborough City Council leader John Holdich gives his view on the council and news and issues affecting you...

Now it may surprise you to learn that despite my boyish good looks, I am into my seventies!

People in my age group are currently receiving Covid-19 vaccinations and my appointment for a jab is pencilled in for next week.

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I’m looking forward to it and with the vaccine rollout progressing at pace, it feels like there truly is light at the end of a long tunnel.

The vaccine rollout is the biggest immunisation campaign in history and it’s important for everyone to be aware of how it all works.

In Peterborough the programme is well under way, with the NHS actively working to open additional vaccination sites over the coming weeks.

People most at risk, including over-80s and care home residents and workers, were vaccinated first.

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Those aged over 75 were next, followed by those aged over 70 and adults of all ages who are the most vulnerable – those who have been shielding, including some cancer patients and those with lung and heart conditions.

If you are registered with a local GP, you will be contacted when it is your turn to book an appointment. Please do not call the hospitals or GP practices, all you need to do is wait to be invited. If you are not registered with a local GP, please do so asap to ensure you get invited to book an appointment.

The vaccines are deemed to be highly effective, so I would urge everyone to please accept their invite once it arrives, get the jab and help to control the spread of the virus.

We are aware of national vaccine scams, with fraudsters contacting vulnerable people offering vaccines for money. Please note that the vaccine is free and the NHS will never ask for payment or your bank details.

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Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so this is why it’s vitally important to keep following social distancing and other guidance, even if you’ve been vaccinated.

You can find out more about the COVID-19 vaccination programme being rolled out across Peterborough, including local sites, here: https://www.cambridgeshireandpeterboroughccg.nhs.uk/news-and-events/latest-news/covid-19-national-vaccination-programme/

While the vaccine rollout gives everyone hope for the future, the virus is still very much with us and effecting our everyday lives.

In Peterborough, the picture is fast changing and it’s incredibly difficult to make predictions for the future.

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What we have seen recently is that while cases elsewhere in the region have started to level off, cases in Peterborough have continued to rise.

Demographically, Peterborough is a young city with a high proportion of working age people, many of whom work in industries where they can’t work from home (ie customer facing roles/warehouses/factories etc) and are more susceptible to catching the virus.

While the rates for over 60s in Peterborough are going down, these demographic factors may explain why the overall rate is not yet decreasing.

We know that generally people are following the rules, with our Covid-19 marshals reporting that most residents are staying indoors and keeping safe.

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But we’re also getting feedback that some people may be feeling over confident now the vaccine rollout has begun and are breaking the rules too early.

So on this note, once again I must urge everyone to please stay safe and follow the national guidelines.

To recap, don’t invite people into your home who you don’t live with all the time, don’t go out unless it is essential - and when you do take particular care because of this new variant of the virus is so much easier to catch.

Avoid crowded areas, don’t gather together in groups, don’t ignore signs or the advice of our marshals who are out on the streets to help and support you.

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You also need to continue to wear face coverings in shops, keep socially distanced and wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.

I want to thank everyone for doing their bit to keep us safe and you can rest assured that we will continue to work to keep the city moving forward.

We appreciate that the current situation is very difficult for some people, and there is support for those who may be lonely or isolated, or who suddenly need very practical support– and I would encourage them to phone the countywide co-ordination hub on 0345 045 5219.

For anyone whose mental health is being more severely impacted, there is the Lifeline support number 0808 808 2121 which operates daily from 11am to 11pm and for people with a mental health crisis you can phone the NHS 111 number and ask for Option 2.

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Finally, Monday marks the last day that residents can have their say on plans for a new Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) covering the Millfield, New England, Eastfield and Embankment areas of Peterborough.

If agreed, this scheme will help the council tackle issues that residents in these areas have highlighted, helping to create a clean, safe and welcoming environment.

So please don’t miss this chance to have your say. Visit the consultations section on www.peterborough.gov.uk to comment.

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