‘We’re not out of the pandemic yet’: Dr David Crichton
In this week’s blog, I’d like to highlight that as much as the Government are planning to lift COVID-19 restrictions on 19 July, we are still amid a pandemic where infection rates are still rising.
The Delta variant of coronavirus is highly transmissible and there is absolutely no doubt that once restrictions are lifted and more people gather in crowds and indoors, infection rates will continue to rise.
One of the main reasons why restrictions are being lifted is the successful rollout of the vaccination programme which has helped reduce hospital admissions and reduced deaths for people who catch the virus.
I feel it is important to be clear and echo what the data is telling us; two doses of the vaccines greatly reduce your risk of serious illness and complications should you catch coronavirus once you’ve been jabbed – however, you can still pass the virus on to others and become unwell yourself.
Once 19 July comes around, please remember that you can still take precautions to limit your chances of catching the virus and passing it on by washing your hands, wearing a face mask, and be mindful of being in crowded indoor areas.
We all need to continue to take responsibility for our own health and continuing with some of the regular practices like regular hand washing can greatly reduce your risk of getting ill from any infection.
In Doncaster, as much as we’ve had fantastic uptake across the borough with people coming forward for vaccinations, approximately 26,000 people are yet to have a first dose. Primarily, these people are in the younger ages groups who may believe they are not at risk of complications should they catch the virus.
It also may be helpful to share some data about hospitalisations in our local area. In Doncaster as of Thursday 8 July there were 18 patients in hospital being treated for COVID-19 complications, four of whom are in intensive care, and all of them are under 40 years old. This is changing all the time but just a couple of weeks ago we had no patients needing treatment and now to see the numbers ticking up, especially in younger people, is concerning and shows just how important vaccinations are.
Anyone who is 18 or over can access a jab with more drop-in clinics available now for the many young patients who struggle to make appointments with work commitments. We have many drop-in clinics across Doncaster this weekend (10-11 July) details of which are shared on the CCG’s social media channels and website, as well as the Doncaster Council website.
For anyone who would prefer to have a set time for an appointment, the NHS online booking system has an option to book a jab at the local vaccination hub at Almond Tree Court at the RDaSH Tickhill Road with plenty of free parking available.
Please come forward and protect yourself and those around you by having both of your vaccinations. The recommended gap between both doses is 8 weeks and it’s vital you have that second dose.
Some people, including myself, experienced short term side effects from their first jab and that might be preventing a few coming back for the second. My advice as a GP is to think about the long-term benefit of being protected from severe coronavirus and how feeling a little under the weather for a couple of days far outweighs serious complications that may come from catching COVID-19 unvaccinated.
Recent data published by the ONS shows that almost 400,000 people in the UK have experienced symptoms of Long Covid for at least 12 weeks, up from 70,000 in early March. Symptoms of the condition include fatigue, muscle pain and “brain fog”.
There are strong links between having a vaccination and reducing your risk of catching COVID-19 which in turn, can develop in to Long Covid.
Long Covid can have a lasting and damaging effect on your life affecting everything from your mental health to your work life.
Please come forward for a jab and if you’re due or even overdue your second dose, please book an appointment or visit a drop-in clinic to have it as soon as possible.
If you turned down the offer of a jab previously but would now like to have one, come along to a drop-in clinic; there is no deadline to come forward and you don’t have to be registered with a GP to get vaccinated.
For more information about the vaccination programme please visit https://www.doncasterccg.nhs.uk/covid-19-vaccine/.