With the horrendous situation in Ukraine dominating the news agenda at the moment, the ongoing issue of the Coronavirus pandemic is perhaps understandably no longer at the forefront of villagers’ minds.
In the last couple of months alone, the Government (in England) has dispensed with the mandatory wearing of face coverings in most public settings, withdrawn ‘contact tracing’ and removed the legal requirement for us to take tests or self-isolate. Then, just last week, as it continues its plan for ‘Living with COVID-19’, even the need for taking COVID tests or filling in passenger locator forms when travelling to the UK from abroad was removed, irrespective of vaccination status.
Furthermore, from April 1st 2022, we will no longer be able to send for or to pick up free Lateral Flow Test kits – meaning either paying for these ourselves or just hoping for the best that we haven’t picked up the virus to inadvertently pass on to others who may be more vulnerable.
Whilst the Government is still recommending us to “consider wearing a face covering in crowded, enclosed spaces” and “let fresh air in if meeting indoors, or meet outside” a visit to Ruddington’s shops and busy hospitality venues reveals that most people are no longer heeding this safety advice. Even the provision of hand sanitiser for customers seems much less common these days.
It is then perhaps unsurprising that, with the much more infectious Omicron variant now dominant, alongside waning immunity from vaccines, the latest official data shows COVID-19 infections in Ruddington shooting up by 80.4% in just one week (as of 13th March 2022) – turning Ruddington’s case map (top) a deeper shade of purple. Whilst this ‘official’ case rate has soared to 1,048.9 per 100,000 people, it’s thought in reality it will probably be much higher, since fewer people now are testing themselves or bothering to report positive test results.
Ruddington resident J.R. commented: “We are being sensible as lots of people we know have COVID at the moment – and some of them are still going out to the shops!”
Of course, the good news is that the current Omicron BA.2 variant appears to be much less likely to cause serious illness, hospitalisation or death than the previous Alpha and Delta strains. However, the sheer volume of cases does mean we’re starting to see both hospital admissions and deaths with COVID-19 increase again in Rushcliffe. The possible long term health effects – so called ‘Long COVID’ – also remain a concern. Meantime, those most likely to be impacted by catching the virus are still the elderly and people with underlying health conditions – so, following recommendations from The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), new jabs focusing on these groups are now being rolled out.
From this Monday (21st March), another ‘booster’ vaccination is being made available to villagers over the age of 75, for all Ruddington’s care home residents and to individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed or have weakened immune systems. This time around, eligible adults will be offered either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine – with those aged between 12-18 offered the Pfizer vaccine. However, eligible residents will not be contacted until six months has elapsed since their previous dose. You can find more information >>HERE<<.
Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup says: “The British public has responded incredibly during the pandemic, with tens of millions of people rolling up their sleeves to do their part by getting vaccinated. We must ensure those at greatest risk of serious illness from COVID are protected and spring boosters will top up people’s immunity. The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn – please take up the offer as soon as you can”.
As before, you’re asked to wait to receive an invitation before booking your appointment. You will then have the option of being vaccinated closer to home by booking in at Evans Pharmacy on Charles Street, should you wish to do so.