Last Friday, I took part in a virtual visit to the vaccination site at Stithians Showground. I got to hear about the brilliant work that is being carried out there to help defeat the pandemic. In the last six weeks, we have made some fantastic progress with the rollout of the vaccine, over 16 million people nationally and about 150,000 in Cornwall with everyone playing their part.
Thursday, 18 February 2021
Progress of the Vaccine Rollout
As I write this, we have now vaccinated the first 4 groups set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) in December, which means almost everyone over the age of 70. We will now begin work on groups 5-9 working toward the target of vaccinating everyone over the age of 50 by the end of April.
While there has been some discussion about the priority the JCVI gave, we now know that the over-70s represent 88% of those most at risk of dying from Covid-19. Once we have vaccinated the groups 1-9 we will have hopefully eliminated 99% of all potential deaths in the future.
The roll-out of the vaccine is a key route for us out of lockdown and the pandemic. Next week the Prime Minister will announce the road-map for exiting from the lockdown. This is likely to begin on the 8th of March with the opening of schools. Young people have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic. Children in both primary schools and secondary have been separated from friends, those studying for exams have been disrupted and there will be some who have lost confidence, drifted away from friends or have insecurities exacerbated. That is why it is vital that we get schools open first and as soon as it is safe to do so. Hopefully, this milestone marks an important point in our return to normality. After that, there is likely to be a gradual easing of other restrictions on retail and later on restaurants and pubs.
The last 12 months have been exceptionally challenging, but we have seen key workers from the NHS to food production and supply really step up. Over the next few weeks, we should begin to see the effect of the vaccine programme show results but we really want this to the last lockdown so we should be cautious as we take the restrictions off to make sure we don’t end up with a reversion back to high infection rates.