Coronavirus cases in Herefordshire are at an all time peak, with huge pressure on our local hospitals. Household mixing at Christmas will have played a part in this, and we are now expecting to see a reduction in cases following the subsequent lockdown.
It has been sad to see the toll that Covid has taken on our community, with outbreaks in residential homes during the first wave making up the majority of local deaths. It is a tribute to the efforts of everyone who has been following the guidance that community spread has otherwise stayed relatively low.
The new variant of Covid-19 is significantly more transmissable, so it is more important than ever to avoid close contact, wear face coverings and ensure good ventilation and hygiene. It is possible for people who have been vaccinated still to catch and spread Covid-19, so we need to continue with these measures until a substantial proportion of the population have been vaccinated.
GP surgeries are making excellent progress with vaccines locally, achieving the highest vaccination rates among over 80s. We continue to work our way down through the priority groups, and have completed the first vaccination for almost all over 80 year olds locally, as well as frontline health and social care workers. If anyone over 80 has not yet been vaccinated, please contact your surgery to book an appointment.
We are now moving on to group 3 (those who are 75 and over), working down by age and currently booking 77 and 78 year olds. We are also vaccinating those housebound patients unable to get to the clinic, again working down by age.
All the local surgeries are working closely together to deliver the vaccines. We are sticking strictly to the priority list, and will contact people as we work down through the groups. Vaccine supply is expected to increase as we move into February, so we should continue to make good progress.
Huge thanks are due to the volunteers who have made the clinics run so smoothly, and to everyone who has played their part tackling this pandemic.