COVID update 17th April 2021:
Not a lot new to report this week and the focus has been on delivering second jabs. As at Thursday 32.6m people across the UK had received a first dose and the number completing the second dose is now up to 8.9m. That represents an extra 129,7892 and 417,683 jabs respectively on Thursday, meaning over 16% of the adult population have completed their vaccinations.
Yesterday 2596 new cases of COVID were detected which is a decrease of 8.5% over the last 7 days. The numbers in hospital had decreased by a further 12% on the week to 2291 patients whilst the number of deaths at 34 represents a decrease of 17.4% in the rolling weekly average.
We have of course seen flare-ups in parts of south London this week which has been met by a big deployment of surge testing. Given the key development in the route map out of lockdown on Monday, (meaning that I was able to get a haircut whilst others wrapped up warm in the snow in pub gardens) we have yet to see what impact this may have on the infection rate. It is important to remain vigilant however and not get completely ‘demob happy’ quite yet. Compared to our daily rate of 2596, yesterday saw 37,936 new infections reported in France and 25,831 in Germany just across the Channel.
As I predicted last week the JCVI has now issued advice that it is safe for all pregnant women to be offered the COVID-19 vaccine at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group. There have been no specific safety concerns identified with any brand of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines in relation to pregnancy.
This decision is based on Real-world data from the United States which shows that around 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated, mainly with mRNA vaccines including Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, without any safety concerns being raised.
West Sussex County Council has issued further information about the availability of free testing. To help protect our family, friends and communities, and keep us heading in the right direction on the roadmap, it’s vitally important to get tested regularly and self-isolate when required.
If you don’t have symptoms, make it your habit to get tested twice a week. Order tests to your home, collect locally or book a local supervised test. Collection points and test sites are available across West Sussex.www.westsussex.gov.uk/communitytesting
If you develop any of the Covid-19 symptoms (fever, new persistent cough, or loss of taste or smell), you must self-isolate immediately and book a PCR test or call 119
Earlier this week the Government announced that all those aged from 45 are now eligible for the vaccination. They have not opened up to the whole Cohort 10 of everyone in their 40’s yet due to supply uncertainties. In Sussex there are an estimated 150,000 people in their 40’s in the whole Cohort 10 and at the beginning of the week there was a supply of only about 60,000 first time doses which explains why the target group has so far been reduced by around half.
However it should not be too long before those aged 40-44 will be included especially as it was confirmed on Thursday that the Brighton Centre is one of only 2 mass vaccination centres in the South-East region that will offer the new Moderna vaccine starting next Tuesday. Subsequently new vaccination slots are being added regularly to those booking Brighton online as originally all slots had been booked up. Keep trying if you do not find a slot available when you first try and are instead being directed to a mass vaccination site much further away.
Locally the GP vaccination hubs will continue to work through the top 9 cohorts and in some cases are opening up to over 45’s as well. Remember they will contact you and you cannot book an appointment directly unlike the mass vaccination centres. That means that all those listed here are now eligible for a first dose:
- people aged 45 and over
- people at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
- people who live or work in care homes
- health and social care workers
- people with a condition that puts them at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
- people with a learning disability
- people who are a main carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus
Continue to keep safe everyone.