By Dr Sarah Jarvis
The Manchester community should be very proud of the huge progress it has made since the start of the pandemic. Thanks to the amazing work of support and voluntary groups such as Manchester Community Central and the resilience and spirit of Manchester residents, we’ve pulled together and fought hard against the virus. But the fight isn’t over.
As we step into winter, I am determined to help keep Manchester safe and avoid another lockdown this Christmas. But sadly, many areas across Greater Manchester are still exposed to very high Covid rates and some of the lowest vaccine uptake rates of any region in England. And with the number of Omicron cases spiralling, the latest variant looks set to overwhelm the NHS if left unchecked.
However, there are some simple steps we can all take to keep ourselves and our community safe.
As a doctor, I would also strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated if they are able to do so. Vaccines are still our best way out of this pandemic. They have helped us build a wall of defence around us and our loved ones and are available free from thousands of vaccine centres, GP practices and pharmacies.
But as we all know, immunity from these vaccines does reduce over time, so it’s vital we all get our boosters. The good news is everyone over 18 can now get a booster three months after their second vaccine, giving you additional protection just in time for the festive season!
To stop transmission in homes, it’s also critical to let fresh air in if you meet indoors. Ventilating your home doesn’t mean you have to let all the heat out. Opening windows for 10 minutes each hour when socialising indoors will allow fresh air to circulate and significantly reduce the risk of Covid-19
Wearing a face covering and washing your hands regularly are key to reducing transmission – and as we move into Plan B – it’s now law to wear face coverings in shops, on public transport and in most indoor settings across England.
And remember, if you need further help, Manchester City Council offers a wide range of support services, including financial, for those who have been affected by Covid, including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Covid-19 support groups. Otherwise, visit GOV.UK for the latest Government guidance and legal requirements.
Together, we can keep our loved ones safe, our communities thriving and our Christmas cheerful.