Responding to the government’s Covid Winter Plan

Published Tuesday 14 September 2021 at 15:32

Following the Secretary of State for Health & Social Care’s announcement of the Covid Winter Plan this afternoon, the Council has released a statement.

Jointly, Council Leader Coun Mohammed Khan CBE, Chief Executive Denise Park, and Director of Public Health Prof Dominic Harrison said:

As temperatures drop and we head into autumn, we agree with the Secretary of State that vaccines should be our first line of defence against Covid.

Already in Blackburn with Darwen, 76.1% over 16s have had both doses of the Covid vaccine and 66.9% have had one dose.*

Being fully protected by the vaccine means a lower risk of becoming very poorly with Covid, needing hospital treatment, and fewer people losing their lives to Covid over autumn and winter. A recent ONS study revealed that two doses of the vaccine can dramatically reduce people’s likelihood of dying from a Covid infection.

More people getting vaccinated will also help control the spread of Coronavirus over autumn and winter, which is why it’s particularly good news that the Chief Medical Officers have recommended one dose of the vaccine for 12 to 15 year olds, and a third dose for over 50s.

We are continuing to work in partnership with our local NHS to encourage unvaccinated people to have their jabs, particularly pregnant women who are more at risk of complications from Covid infection.

We will also support the NHS’s roll-out of flu vaccinations to encourage local residents to boost their immunity during the colder months.

We also welcome the decision to continue making free Covid testing available to everyone, as well as practical and financial help for everyone who is required to self-isolate.

We agree that more lockdowns are not what the country needs at this important stage of recovery from the pandemic. We will continue to call on the government for financial support for those sectors of our business community that were worst hit by the previous lockdowns. As one of the hardest hit boroughs in England, the government’s levelling up programme funding should be targeted at areas like ours with long-term structural issues which the pandemic has only exacerbated. We need to know that the government is serious about levelling up otherwise we may experience some of the same issues in the future.

We also call on the government to provide funding to local councils for essential public health services that help keep local populations well and avoid needing hospital treatment. Just recently the NHS was awarded £8bn in Covid recovery funding, but no amount of funding has been allocated to Public Health departments.

As we continue to live with the virus, we appeal to everyone to treat other people with respect and kindness, and do whatever you can to protect them as well as yourself.

We can all easily follow some sensible infection control measures, such as wearing face coverings in crowded places or around vulnerable people, and respecting other people’s social distancing preferences.

The government is also advising making sure rooms are well ventilated when we meet up indoors, and also meeting up outdoors as much as possible. Regular rapid testing even if you have no symptoms also helps to keep others safe.

Find out how to get rapid / lateral flow tests in BwD: www.blackburn.gov.uk/get-a-test

Find out where you can get vaccinated: www.healthierlsc.co.uk/getmyjab

 

* Figures correct as at Fri 10 September 2021

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