Councillor issues call to action as Omicron threat looms
Tuesday, December 7, 2021
A senior councillor has urged the public to take the fight to Omicron by getting vaccinated as the Covid-19 variant continues its spread across the country.
The new variant appears to be rapidly spreading across the UK – with cases already confirmed in Lancashire and more expected.
More time is needed to answer the many questions scientists and health experts have about Omicron, such as whether it spreads faster and is milder than other variants.
The best thing people can do in the meantime is to follow the new measures that have been reintroduced and make sure they are up to date with their vaccinations.
While it is unclear as to how effective the current Covid-19 vaccines are against the new variant, scientists are confident they will still protect to some degree against severe disease and death.
The call to action comes as Lancashire marks the one-year anniversary of its Covid-19 vaccination programme.
Cllr Michael Green, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: "Above all, vaccines provide the best defence against the main variant of coronavirus and although studies are ongoing, it looks likely it will provide some level of defence against the severity of the Omicron variant.
"It's never too late to receive your first or second dose of the vaccine and our partners in the NHS won't ask why you haven't come forward before. Those eligible for a booster dose between the ages of 18-39 will shortly be hearing from the NHS to be invited for a booster.
"In Lancashire we have been hard hit by coronavirus, and we want to do everything we can to ensure we keep supporting each other during what we expect to be a difficult winter period.
"We also now need more people to get involved as volunteers for the next phase of the vaccination programme. If you can spare a few hours a week, please sign up – and thank you to the thousands of people who have already given up their time to support this national effort."
Following the emergence of the Omicron variant in the UK, several measures have been reintroduced by the government to prevent the new strain from spreading.
It is now mandatory to wear a face covering in shops and on public transport. A full breakdown of where this applies can be found on the gov.uk website.
Close contacts of anyone who tests positive for the Omicron variant will have to isolate for a 10-day period regardless of vaccine status. NHS Test and Trace will call you to discuss this.
Your local council will be able to provide extra support and advice to anyone who has to isolate and will discuss whether you are eligible for extra isolation payments.
Some overseas travel rules around testing have changed and you should seek advice from gov.uk around these rules before you travel.
In additional to adhering to the new measures, it is important that people continue to follow the guidance that remains in place.
Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health, said: "Everyone is strongly advised to wear a face covering in any situation where you are mixing with people you do not usually come into contact with.
"Where possible, meet outdoors or in a place with fresh air circulating and practice regular hand hygiene.
"People should also continue to test regularly using lateral flow tests and before they go to a high-risk situation, such as meeting friends to socialise. If you test positive, isolate straight away and book a PCR test to confirm.
"While they are not enough on their own, the most important thing we can all do to protect ourselves and others is to get vaccinated, whether that is a first, second or booster jab."
Details of when and where residents can access the Covid-19 vaccination as close as possible to their home are available online at https://www.healthierlsc.co.uk/getmyjab or by calling 119.
If you want to volunteer to support the vaccinations programme, register now at https://www.healthierlsc.co.uk/volunteer