At last, the news we have all been waiting for! The UK has become the first country in the world to approve a COVID-19 vaccine for widespread use. Next week some 800,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will be made available, with the bulk of the vaccines becoming available in the New Year. A priority list of those who will get the vaccine first puts NHS staff, care home residents and staff and those aged 80 and over at the head of the queue followed by those aged 75 and over and so on down eventually to those aged 50 and over – at which point some 90-99% of those at risk of dying of COVID-19 will have been vaccinated.
Obviously, the logistics of the roll-out are very complex, especially as everyone will require 2 jabs, three weeks apart. Around 50 hospital hubs around England will start offering the vaccine to the first in line, followed by GP practices coming together in each area to operate local vaccination centres – growing to over 1,000 across England. No action is needed to arrange to have a vaccination as the NHS will invite patients to attend at the appropriate point in time.
Local Restrictions from 2nd December
Exciting though the news of the vaccine may be, it will obviously be some time before life returns to normal and, following the conclusion of the latest lockdown, we have now entered the period of Local Restrictions – Tier 2 High Alert which will apply up to and including 22nd December, followed by the Christmas Bubble period from 23rd December to 27th December inclusive and then reverting to the Local Restrictions on 28th December until further notice.
On 26th November we provided details of the Local Restrictions applicable to West Sussex but as a reminder, an extremely useful easy-read guide has just been published which you can find here.
Christmas – Easing of Restrictions
Details of the Christmas Bubble arrangements appeared in our Newsletter of 25th November but by way of a reminder the latest government update can be seen here.
Overseas Travel at Christmas
In England from 2 December, people are permitted to travel abroad, subject to any restrictions in place at their destination. If you are considering travelling overseas at Christmas for a holiday or to visit relatives, we would recommend you have a look at the guidance notes just produced by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office which can be found here.
Stay well and keep safe and if you need help with shopping or prescriptions from our volunteer force please contact: –
Fr. Peter Mallinson (Bury) 839057 or Ken & Diana Rowsell (West Burton) 831475