We couldn’t work as we do without the help and support of our fantastic volunteers who freely give their time to help ensure the work we do matters.
From all at Healthwatch Staffordshire, thank you to all our Volunteers for your hard work and dedication over the past year.
The Healthwatch Staffordshire team
From Tuesday 8th June the Covid Vaccine will be available for 25 – 29-year-olds
People under 39 will be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
For most younger people COVID-19 is usually a milder illness that rarely leads to complications. For a few people, the symptoms may last for longer than the usual 2 to 3 weeks. The vaccination will help to protect you against COVID-19.
In the second phase of the programme the vaccine will be offered to those under 50 years old in the following order:
- 40 to 49 years
- 30 to 39 years
- 18 years and over
The risk remains higher in older ages. For example, the risk of dying from COVID-19 in someone aged 40 to 49 is 3 times higher than someone in the 30 to 39 year age group and 12 times higher than someone in the 20 to 29 year age group.
The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and 2 doses will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill. We do not yet know how much it will reduce the chance of you catching and passing on the virus. So, it is important to continue to protect those around you.
Remember to protect yourself and your family, friends and colleagues you MUST still follow any national or local restrictions and:
- practise social distancing
- wear a face mask
- wash your hands regularly
- open windows to let fresh air in
- follow the current guidance
After you have had the first dose you need to plan to attend your second appointment. You should have a record card and your next appointment should be between 3 and 12 weeks later.
Although the first dose will give you good protection, you need the second dose to get longer-lasting protection.
Keep your record card safe and make sure you keep your next appointment to get your second dose
Covid Vaccine Fact sheet here
Indian Variant identified in Staffordshire.
As restrictions have eased further and cases of the Indian variant have been identified in the county, residents are still being urged to get tested twice a week even if they have no symptoms. With the proposed lifting of all restrictions on 21st June, we MUST continue testing.
Testing is available:
Pharmacies – for testing or collection
Pop up testing – find your local site
Test centres –
People can also collect two kits from national testing sites between 2.30 pm and 8 pm. Testing for people with symptoms takes place outside these hours. You do not need to make an appointment.
The Government’s national testing sites where collection is available in Staffordshire are:
- Burton Town Hall
- Keele Science and Innovation Park
- Spinning School Lane Car Park in Tamworth
Online – nhs.uk/Get-Tested
Order for home delivery – post
Education facilities where your child attends
New Covid-19 guidelines from 17th May.
You should continue to work from home if you can. When travelling within the UK, you should aim to do so safely and plan your journey in advance.
- Gathering limits have been eased. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings are limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
- New guidance on meeting friends and family emphasises personal responsibility rather than government rules. Instead of instructing you to stay 2m apart from anyone you don’t live with, you are encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19 and actions you can take to help keep you and your loved ones safe. Remember that the risks of close contact may be greater for some people than others and in some settings and circumstances, there will be specific guidance that you will need to follow even when you are with friends and family.
- Indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas are permitted to open with COVID-secure measures in place.
- People can attend indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events is capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues.
- Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
- Organised indoor sport can take place for all. This includes gym classes. It must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
- All holiday accommodation can open, including hotels and B&Bs. This can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
- Funeral attendance is no longer be limited to 30 people, but will be determined by how many people the COVID-secure venue can safely accommodate with social distancing. Limits at weddings, wakes and other commemorative events have been increased to 30 people. Other significant life events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and christenings, will also be able to take place with 30 people.
- The rules for care home residents visiting out and receiving visitors have changed, allowing up to five named visitors (two at any one time), provided visitors test negative for COVID-19.
- All higher education students are able to access in-person teaching.
- Support groups and parent and child group gathering limits have been increased to 30 people (not including under 5s)
- There is no longer a legal restriction or permitted reason required to travel internationally. A traffic light system for international travel has been introduced, and you must follow the rules when returning to England depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country.
BSL explainer video with the new easing of lockdown lifting rules for 17th May 2021
For a full list of upcoming testing, sites go to the Community Test Sites Appointment System page.
People with Covid symptoms should not attend and should self-isolate and book a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or ring 119.
For further information on all of the testing options available for people in Staffordshire visit: https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/testing.
Free lateral flow tests for all.
About 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not have symptoms but can still infect others.
Getting tested regularly is the only way to know if you have the virus. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading.
“Everyone can now get a free rapid Covid-19 test.
They show results in 30 minutes.
They also show you’re doing all you can to protect those around you.”
Find out where to get your lateral flow tests here
Test yourself twice a week and add your results to GOV.UK covid reporting site.
Healthwatch Staffordshire Update
During the current Coronavirus outbreak, Healthwatch Staffordshire staff are currently following guidance and operating from home locations. The Healthwatch Staffordshire service will continue to be provided.
To contact us, use the messaging facility on our website HERE
We’re an independent organisation set up to champion the views of patients and social care users in Staffordshire, with the goal of making services better and improving health and wellbeing. We want to hear about your views, needs and experiences to help Staffordshire get the best possible health and care.
Your views matter
The Long Term Plan sets out what the NHS wants to do better, including:
- Making it easier for people to access support closer to home and via technology
- Doing more to help people stay well
- Providing better support for people with cancer, mental health conditions, heart and lung diseases, long-term conditions, such as diabetes and arthritis, learning disabilities and autism, and for people as they get older and experience conditions such as dementia.
Your local NHS needs to hear from you about what it should do to make care better for your community.
Share your views and help make care better.