As I write this, I know that people will be concerned about the emergence of the new Omicron variant. We are still establishing the full facts. However, it now seems clear that the virus spreads very rapidly and that two jabs give very limited protection against infection. What remains unclear is the extent to which those with two jabs or much worse none, are vulnerable to hospitalisation and death.
Against this backdrop, we are doing two things. First, we have activated Plan B. We always said that if a variant like Omicron emerged, we’d reintroduce mask wearing, working from home and certification in large higher risk venues. This will help slow the spread but it will only buy us a little more time.
So secondly and vitally, alongside this we are having a massive booster drive with everyone over 18 offered one by the end of the year. This will require a huge national effort. However, I am confident that we can do it. I’ve seen first hand the tireless dedication of local doctors, nurses and dozens of volunteers at Allum Lane who are part of this jabs army. I also know how hard local pharmacies are working to deliver the jab.
Our health workers and volunteers are ready but we need everyone to play their part. The booster will ensure at least 75 per cent protection against catching Covid and probably more against ending up in hospital or worse. So when you get the call, get the booster jab. It could save your life and will help us all keep as much of normal life going as we possibly can.