Somerset’s Public Health Director thanks residents ahead of Government’s Winter Plan rollout

Health leaders in Somerset welcome a cautious approach as the Government unveils its plans for tackling Covid-19 during Autumn and Winter, placing an emphasis on the importance of vaccinations, testing and tracing, and individual’s behaviour.

From as soon as next week, vaccines will be offered to otherwise healthy 12 – 15-year-olds, via the school immunisation service. We continue to work closely with Somerset School Leaders to provide support and information to staff, parents and pupils as well as helping vaccination centres cope with additional demand to aid the rollout of increased vaccinations. Additionally a booster of the Covid-19 vaccination was announced for health and social care workers and all those over 50 years of age, which will start in the coming weeks.

Whilst the Government’s Covid-19 ‘Plan A’ focuses on promoting vaccines, including booster jabs and testing, ‘Plan B’ outlines restrictions that may need to be introduced should pressure on NHS and health services become unsustainable. These include asking the public to act more cautiously, mandatory vaccine passports for mass events and legally mandating face coverings.

Somerset’s Covid-19 Local Engagement Board and the NHS in Somerset are reminding residents of the simple measures we can all adopt, to avoid restrictions being placed on our day-to-day lives:

  • Get vaccinated for both Covid-19 and flu
  • If you get symptoms, get tested and self-isolate if required (still a legal requirement if you test positive)
  • Let fresh air into indoor spaces
  • Wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces
  • Wash your hands
  • Stay at home if you are unwell, to avoid the spread of other infectious illnesses

Trudi Grant, Director of Public Health said:

“We continue to lead the way in Somerset with our excellent rates of vaccination, especially in young people, but welcome the Government’s cautious approach.  We must not rest on our laurels and strive to ensure that all our communities have access to the vaccine and the benefits it provides. Completing the course of two vaccinations is really important for all those under 50 years of age.

“The all-important safety measures such as wearing face coverings, letting in fresh air, washing hands regularly, and keeping up with testing are as important now as they have always been.  As we begin to move into Autumn, we are mindful of the pressure we might begin to see on our NHS and health services and give our sincere thanks in advance to all those doing their bit to help keep this pressure down.”

If you have been requested to undertake regular asymptomatic testing, (a parent of a school age child, health, care or education staff) or you want to keep those you meet or work with safe from infection , please take up the offer of a free test and vaccines, more details on how and where to get a test are available here: Coronavirus – Get a test if you have symptoms (somerset.gov.uk)

As the business community in Somerset recovers from a busy Summer period, we remind them of the important role in preventing the spread of infection, both for the welfare of their employees, but also to preserve business activity. Somerset County Council have a wide range of resources available to help, with posters, postcards and social media assets available to print and download. Stay safe (somerset.gov.uk)

ENDS

Notes to editors

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