As a local authority area, we are doing well with our uptake, with one of the highest vaccine rates in the country, but it's really important that we don't let our guard down now.
It is especially important now, as the colder nights draw in, that we all create a protective shield to help keep everyone safe. Not just for protection from COVID-19, but also the winter flu and sickness bugs to protect those who are more vulnerable.
We can all play our part, so share this advice with your family or household to open-up the conversation about any individual concerns, and know your risk...
1. Get both of your COVID-19 vaccines (and booster jab) if, and when you can – if you are fully vaccinated this will reduce the rate of transmission. This is especially important if you are clinically vulnerable or pregnant.
2. Keep doing a rapid lateral flow test twice a week - around 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms. If people test positive and self-isolate it will help prevent the virus from spreading.
3. Keep washing your hands regularly with soap and water, not just hand sanitiser, as this is the best way to keep winter bugs at bay.
4. Remember to ventilate where you can or meet outside - even when the weather is cooler, to limit the risk of COVID-19 transmission.
5. If you find out that you are a close contact of a positive case – take steps to protect those around you, even after taking the recommended PCR test and getting a negative result. Just because you are fully vaccinated or exempt, it doesn’t mean that you can’t catch COVID-19 or pass it on. So, for the next 10 days consider:
- Limiting close contact with people outside your household, especially in busy or enclosed spaces
- Wearing a face covering in busy or enclosed spaces and where you are unable to maintain social distancing
- Limiting contact with anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable
6. If you know you are going to see someone who is vulnerable, consider your social decisions and travel movements in the week leading up to seeing them, as well as taking an LFT more often.
7. Respect personal choice now restrictions have changed - give others space and wear a face covering in busy or restricted areas such as on public transport or supermarkets to protect others.
8. If you are planning a family gathering why not discuss the wider risk involved in your plans – can you meet outside, in a public space or at the home with the most space? Where has everyone been in the days leading up to the gathering – think about school, work, childcare, public transport? Consider the risk involved for any vulnerable members of your group or anyone that will not have had the opportunity to get their vaccines.
9. Consider getting the flu jab, even if you are not eligible on the NHS for a free vaccine. The best time is in the autumn or early winter before flu starts spreading. More people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity during the pandemic - do everything you can to strengthen your protection. Local pharmacies are offering it privately for around £9 to £14.
10. If you do have symptoms, stay at home and order a PCR test by visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or calling 119.
Remember the three steps to safety – Prevent. Notice. Act. For more information about the symptoms of COVID-19, getting vaccinated or taking a test visit: www.eastriding.gov.uk/3stepstosafety