Ipswich Borough Council Leader: Councillor David Ellesmere
Ipswich Borough Council Leader: Councillor David Ellesmere

Just when it looked like we might be able to enjoy a relatively normal Christmas, Covid has yet another trick up its sleeve.

There is still a lot we don’t know about the Omicron strain of Covid but what we do know should be enough to make us very concerned.

Huge numbers of people are currently being infected with Omicron – more people are testing positive than in any other Covid wave.

Everyone who tests positive must self-isolate, and many will not be able to work. This will affect the ability of organisations to function normally and will hit the economy.

A proportion of people infected will need to be admitted to hospital and some of them will sadly die.

This proportion varies depending on the Covid strain and whether you’re vaccinated and boosted. We don’t know if the proportion for Omicron is more, less, or the same as Delta – but there is no strain that doesn’t cause some hospitalisations and deaths, there is no vaccine that is 100% effective, and there are still many people not fully vaccinated.

This is going to put a huge strain on the already under pressure NHS with fewer staff due to self-isolation trying to deal with an increased number of patients.

The one thing we do know is that the best chance for an individual to avoid infection, hospitalisation or death is to be tripled-jabbed.

The Government has set the NHS an extremely tough target, with very short notice, to ensure all adults receive a booster jab before the end of the year.

This will require at least a doubling in the number of boosters being delivered every day. To have any hope of achieving this will require all parts of the public and voluntary sectors to work together.

Councils are doing their part to help the NHS on this mammoth undertaking.

Ipswich Borough Council has already provided Gainsborough Sports Centre as a vaccination centre and its capacity has been increased. We’ve also made Whitton Sports Centre and Portman House at the corner of Portman Road and Princes Street available for pop-up vaccination centres as well as redeploying staff to help run them.

Other district councils across Suffolk are doing the same. Suffolk County Council is running a free “vaxi-taxi” service for people without transport to get them to vaccination centres.

All the local information you need is available online at: sneevaccine.org.uk

Please get boosted now!

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