The pandemic caused many annual community events to be postponed, many of which raise vital funds for charities.
This weekend many of these events were able to resume and I know many people enjoyed the sense of getting back to “normal”.
I was pleased this year to join walkers for a couple of legs of the Riverside Walk. This year marked the 7th walk and it was great to see many people taking part, organisers believe around 320, to raise money for the local branch of Parkinson’s UK.
Its also great to see local fetes returning and I very much enjoyed the Southwater Fete and Dog show, which had a huge turnout.
This weekend Horsham Lions “Swimarathon” at The Pavillions is also back after its Covid hiatus, I wish all the swimmers good luck as they take on this challenge!
We of course want to keep this sense of normality as we head into Winter and I was pleased that on Tuesday the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care set out the preferred plan for Covid as we head into colder weather.
A key pillar of this plan is the rollout of the booster vaccine which will begin next week and will be offered to those who were in cohorts 1-9 of the original vaccine rollout (including the clinically vulnerable and over 50s). The booster will be given six months after the second dose and the NHS will contact those eligible directly. The Chief Medical Officer has also determined that vaccines should be made available to 12-15 year olds.
Alongside the booster vaccines, we will undertake the largest ever flu vaccine campaign. Respiratory viruses and the flu thrive in colder months. As we head into Winter the NHS will be facing extreme pressure from Covid, seasonal illnesses such as the flu and trying to clear the backlog which has built during the pandemic. £5.4 billion has been put into the NHS for the next six months to help clear this backlog.
While the local teams have assured me they are well prepared to roll-out the flu and Covid jabs I know we will all be conscious that this is a huge logistical exercise at a time when primary care is facing huge demand post lockdown.
The intent very much is that the continuation of the vaccine programme and test and trace will enable us to continue on the path to returning fully to normality although the Government will continue to monitor the situation closely as we enter the colder months.
Photo Credit: Jeremy joining walkers at the Riverside Walk.