This week we passed the awful milestone of 100,000 UK deaths within 28 days of testing positive for Covid 19. A death in the family is always desperate but this toll has proved so much worse for so many by the circumstances. The inability to say goodbye properly, the inability to meet with friends and family to remember and celebrate the life that has been lost, these have made grief all the more raw.
I hope all those who have lost loved ones know that we are thinking of them and are all aware of the enormity of the loss that has been suffered across the country – and across the world – since this dreadful pandemic started a year ago.
The NHS is continuing to treat Covid patients way in excess of the first peak. One way to respect the memory of those who have died – especially NHS staff and care workers – is by continuing to observe the rules. We do not want more infections resulting in more deaths at the very point when hope is at hand.
Locally, the vaccine roll out continues to progress extremely well. I spoke last week to Storrington Surgery who are providing vaccinations to Billingshurst residents. Billingshurst over 80s are now in the same overall (extremely positive) position in terms of receiving first doses as the same cohort across the area. Locally and nationally we remain on track.
This week the Brighton regional vaccination centre opened, with a further centre expected in Crawley shortly. Those in the priority groups will be offered the opportunity to book in (online or by telephone) to one of the regional centres. However I would like to stress that if you prefer to be vaccinated at your local centre you absolutely can. You will receive a local centre invite by telephone, text or email.
I will continue to update my website on the vaccination programme or please do email me with concerns on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The key limitation on the vaccine programme is the supplies of the vaccine itself. The UK bought early and approved early – and is well ahead of the rest of Europe - but the manufacture and certification of batches takes time.
The programme could not however have been as effective without the support of many volunteers assisting our brilliant local teams. Among them are members of St John’s Ambulance who have provided medical support in so many key moments over 140 years and are doing so once again. Among the many volunteers from all backgrounds are over 30,000 St John’s members being placed in support of the vaccine programme.