At the time of writing, we are all struggling through a national lockdown. I know how difficult this is for people, after we have already endured many tough months of restrictions.
However, unlike in previous lockdowns, there is now light at the end of the tunnel. Week by week we are continuing to ramp up vaccine delivery. Across the UK over 4 million people have now received their first vaccine and as I write this, more than half of all over 80s have been vaccinated.
Many residents in Hertsmere have already received their first vaccine dose. A vaccination hub at Bushey Medical Centre has been administering the vaccine to residents and a hub at Allum Hall in Borehamwood opened on 7 January. Many residents will receive vaccines at local sites or travel to the regional vaccination centre in Stevenage.
I know some residents are frustrated that those in top priority categories have yet to be contacted about their vaccine. This is the largest logistical task the NHS has ever undertaken and will take some time. We have set a clear target of vaccinating all elderly care home residents, everyone over the age of 70, all frontline health and social care workers, and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable by the middle of February, so please do remain patient as you will be contacted about an appointment imminently.
In the meantime, although it is difficult, we must continue to follow the social distancing rules which are in place to keep us all safe. These restrictions are already having an effect as we see infections fall, which over time will lead to fewer deaths and less pressure on the NHS.
I genuinely believe that we enter this new year with cause for hope and optimism. Each additional vaccine brings us closer to the day for which we all yearn, particularly in these bleak winter months, then the crushing COVID restrictions can finally be safely and permanently lifted.