Together We’re Better Stakeholder Update
The UK has now passed the grim milestone of 100,000 COVID-19 related deaths, which is amongst the highest death tolls in Europe. Particularly moving have been the stories of those lost at the front line. This includes those who volunteered to return to the frontline, whether that be A&E, ITU, a COVID ward and died as a result.
There’s also the long tale of those seriously damaged by COVID-19, many with a long road to recovery, some who will never fully recover at all. We know that many more people will still become ill from this virus, and many will sadly pass. The NHS will remain under sustained pressure for months to come. Our economy, our children, our mental health will continue to go through the wringer for months, for years to come. But there is an end in sight.
100,000 – a cause for optimism. By last weekend, the number of people across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent that have been vaccinated against this virus.
Earlier this week it topped 130,000. all this in a little over five weeks.
All our vaccination sites have been doing a valiant effort, despite the snow, to vaccinate as many care homes residents and over 80s as possible. So far, we’ve vaccinated over 85% of the over 80s and this week our focus is on the housebound.
Vaccine supply will remain constrained. However, we’re on track to achieve the target by mid-February for all of the priority groups 1-4 to have been offered the vaccine.
The first of our three large vaccination sites, located at the Daniel Platt Centre in Tunstall, opened on Monday this week. The rest will open by mid-February. The sites will initially focus on providing COVID-19 jabs for frontline health and social care workers. These include staff from local NHS trusts, local authorities and private organisations, who frequently visit vulnerable people in their own homes.
You can listen to the weekly update from Dr Paddy Hannigan, Clinical Lead for the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent COVID-19 vaccination programme, here (the interview runs from 1.35-2.00).
The national COVID-19 dashboard is a great resource to see tangible figures from across the country. It can be categorised into testing, vaccination and hospital admission rates. The regional and ICS/STP data is provided as raw total counts, covering the statistical, weekly and daily data as reported by midnight on the date prior to publication.
The table below shows local verified statistics for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent giving a breakdown of how many vaccinations have been given and to what cohort.
There are concerns over low uptake of the COVID-19 vaccination among black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities and it is thought that misinformation has left patients reluctant to come forward. A local GP has experienced ‘plenty of problems’ with uptake among BAME patients in his community and has enlisted the help of a local imam and a councillor to boost confidence about and increase uptake of the vaccine in this group. This video has also been independently produced by Sanveej Bhaskar OBE (actor and comedian), Adil Ray OBE (actor, comedian and presenter) and friends to further encourage people from the BAME community to take up the vaccine.
You can read more in the COVID-19 vaccination bulletin here.
Outside of the vaccination rollout, the Prime Minister has confirmed this week that schools will not reopen after February half-term. Instead, he hopes it will be safe for pupils to return to schools in England from 8 March. The Government intends to set out a plan for easing lockdown in the week beginning 22 February. This will depend on the ‘continued success of our vaccination programme, the capacity of the NHS and on deaths falling at the pace we would expect as more people are inoculated’.
You can watch the statement here.
Worryingly, we are hearing increasingly from Staffordshire Police that they are being called out to break up illegal gatherings. These have included house parties across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. It is against the law to meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. You cannot leave home for recreational or leisure purposes (such as for a picnic or a social meeting).
The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines.
It’s important to stress that the vast majority of people are following the rules and helping to protect our NHS and keep people safe. Thank you to everyone who, since March last year, has made sacrifices and continue to do so. Thank you for staying home. Thank you for staying away from loved ones. Thank you for helping us in this battle against a deadly virus.
The ‘Do It For What Matters’ campaign is still running across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent. Please see the toolkit attached with the email alongside this update and feel free to share this far and wide across your channels. Separately, there are a number of COVID-19 scams that are currently being reported. Fraudsters have jumped on the hope offered by the vaccine and are taking advantage of people’s eagerness to sign up for an appointment and often to give away personal information in the process. If you receive an email like the one shown here, please be aware that it is a scam and forward it to email@example.com.
To keep yourself aware, you can find more COVID-19 scams on the National Trading Standards website.
Follow this link to read how the NHS will contact you when it’s your turn for the vaccine.