Written by the MP for Folkestone and Hythe, Kent
This week, Health Secretary Sajid Javid presented the government’s coronavirus strategy for winter. Before examining the details of these plans, it’s worth revisiting where we are now.
Despite the spread of the delta variant of Covid-19, the most infectious strain we’ve seen in the pandemic so far, rates of infection and hospitalizations from the virus in Folkestone and Hythe district remain well lower than they were during previous peaks. winter and spring 2020.
Locally, there have been three deaths from the coronavirus since early April this year. Any death is a tragedy for those affected by this loss of life, but these three deaths in the past five months represent a death rate well below that of the peak of the pandemic last December.
At that time, there were as many as nine deaths a day in Folkestone and Hythe. The big difference between now and then is the vaccine, which is safe and effective protection against the virus, and which saves lives.
Anyone who is offered the vaccine should take it. New figures released this week by Chris Whitty, the government’s chief scientific adviser, show the vaccine’s effectiveness even among the most vulnerable.
The vaccine does not offer 100% protection against the virus, but it is much less likely that you will need medical treatment if you get it.
Nationally this summer, for people aged 80 or older, the number of deaths of people who tested positive for covid in the previous 28 days was 120 per 100,000 for those who were not vaccinated. However, for people who had received both vaccines, the rate was less than 40 per 100,000.
When you look at the data locally for all the new cases of the coronavirus, it is clear that they are falling more and more among the young people who are not yet vaccinated against the virus.
That is why I support the decision that has been taken to now offer the vaccine to all 12 to 15 year olds across the UK. My two children are in that age range, and my wife and I want them to get the vaccine.
The government also announced that starting next week, people will be offered a third booster dose of the vaccine. The booster should be given at least six months after the administration of the second dose of the vaccine.
Eligible people include anyone over the age of 50, young adults with health problems, and health and frontline care workers.
I hope this booster program will help us contain the spread of the virus as winter approaches and avoid having to introduce new restrictions.
It has been great to see life back to normal and we don’t want to have to take a step back.