Covid-19 Information Update Issue 10 – Please share this throughout your community
Covid Information Champion update – The number of coronavirus cases in Hertfordshire is falling but now is not the time to get complacent. We must continue to play our part to stop the spread. We are still in a national lockdown, and we are urging all residents to stay home whenever possible. Thanks to the work of GP practices, hospitals, pharmacies and our larger vaccination sites, more than 507,000 people have received at least one vaccine dose in Hertfordshire and west Essex.
Roadmap out of lockdown – The government’s four-step roadmap is in the next stage as of 29 March. This means that from this date, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people or 2 households will be allowed. Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis courts, and open-air swimming pools will also be allowed to reopen. The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March, but many restrictions remain in place. It is important that we all continue to follow the rules of social distancing, washing our hands, wearing a face covering and isolating and getting tested if you get symptoms.
Vaccine safety information – You may have heard that the distribution of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has been temporarily paused in some countries, because of concerns about blood clots. Unfortunately, this has led to some people not attending their vaccination appointments in our area, which means they are not getting protected against COVID-19.
After a rigorous scientific review of all the available data, the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there is no evidence to suggest that blood clots in veins are caused by the AstraZeneca vaccine. This follows a detailed review of reported cases as well as data from hospital admissions and GP records. This has been confirmed by the Government’s independent advisory group, the Commission on Human Medicines, whose expert scientists and clinicians have also reviewed the available data.
The advice from the MHRA is that the public should continue to get their vaccine when invited to do so. They are continuing to closely monitor vaccine safety and review any concerns reported to them. You can read their statement Click Here
Lateral flow testing – schools – Only students in year 7 and above have been asked to complete rapid testing, also known as lateral flow tests, twice a week. Home tests absolutely should not be carried out on children in nursery, infant or primary school. It is explicitly not recommended as part of the testing programme and we are concerned that it could hurt or cause injury to small children. Parents, carers and adults in support bubbles providing childcare are also being encouraged to take twice weekly lateral flow tests (on themselves, not children) at home.
Throughout the half term break, parents should continue to home test themselves, and their children if they are in year 7 and above.
Free rapid testing for people who do not have any symptoms is still available in locations across Hertfordshire for over 16s. If you are leaving the house for an essential purpose such as shopping, or if you can’t work from home, we recommend getting tested twice a week.
Vaccine supplies – From the start of the vaccination programme, the NHS has successfully matched appointments with the availability of the vaccine. Between now and 29 March, there is a good supply of the vaccine. Vaccination centres continue to vaccinate anyone in the top nine priority groups while GP practices are focusing on vaccinating those in cohort six (including adults with underlying health conditions, people with learning disabilities and Carers). Anyone aged 50 and over, eligible Carers and those in vulnerable groups who have not yet had their first dose, are being urged to book their vaccination now, either online through the National Booking System Click Here or by calling 119 – translation support is available on this number for people whose first language is not English.
From 29 March for an expected four-week period, there will be a reduction in the weekly supply of vaccine available from manufacturers, but we will still receive considerable volumes of the vaccine during April. Previously booked appointments for first doses, and those people due their second dose will still receive their vaccine and should attend their appointments as planned.
Everyone who booked their first appointment at a pharmacy or large vaccination centre either using the National Booking System website or by calling 119, should already have a second dose appointment. Anyone who had their first vaccination at a GP-led vaccination centre will be contacted by their GP practice and given a date for their second appointment.
Are you registered with a GP? – To make sure you get your call to be vaccinated, it is much easier if you are registered with a GP surgery. Anyone can register with a GP surgery. You do not need proof of address or immigration status. If you are not registered, there are instructions on how to do so here: Click Here
Vaccine Resources – Information about the vaccination programme which has been designed to meet the needs of our diverse population – including adults with learning disabilities, and resources in different languages and formats – is available here: Click Here
BBC Asian Network: Click Here
Questions and answers about the vaccine are available Click Here
Keep on doing the basics:
- make sure we wash our hands regularly and thoroughly
- keep our distance from others
- wear a face-covering when required
- self-isolate when told to do so
If you or your family need financial or practical help and advice with the cost of food or fuel this winter, please get in touch with HertsHelp:
Click Here or email or call 0300 123 4044
For more information and guidance for residents and businesses during the pandemic please Click Here