By Leah Conway –
West Yorkshire leaders have urged people throughout the region to remain cautious and continue to follow the guidance to minimise the spread of infection as lockdown restrictions ease.
West Yorkshire Prepared – the region’s Local Resillience Forum (LRF) – has expressed increased concern with the rollout of step 3 of the roadmap last week, especially with the new Indian variant detected in Kirklees, which is more transmissible.
Kirklees currently has one of the highest COVID-19 and all other West Yorkshire Local Authority areas are in the top 30.
West Yorkshire prepared are encouraging people to take up the vaccine, especially as there are still pockets of areas in the region where vaccine uptake is low.
Consider the evidence
Dave Walton, co-Chair of West Yorkshire Prepared and Deputy Chief Fire Officer of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “A small number of cases of the Indian variant have been detected in Kirklees. However, with increased testing and those infected isolating, the risk to the general population is extremely low.
“Our concern is if the new variant does take hold in West Yorkshire and spreads to other areas, it will hit those communities where vaccine uptake has been low, as has been seen elsewhere in the country, which could lead to increased hospitalisations.”
“It is important to note that across the region, vaccine uptake rates have generally been very high, but there are still pockets where it remains low.
“For people who are eligible but who have not yet had the vaccine, we would ask them to carefully consider all evidence and research to ensure they’ve made an informed view.”
Time and place that suits you
Dr Phil Wood, Medical Director at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and Senior Responsible Officer for the West Yorkshire Vaccination Programme, said: “Anyone who is 32 or over can book online now without waiting for an invitation or by calling 119.
“We have appointments at our vaccination centres across the city, including our community pharmacy centres and local GP centres, so you can choose a time and place that suits you.
“These are also available to anyone in the nine priority groups who hasn’t yet taken up the offer of a vaccine so please do think about booking an appointment if you haven’t already.
“Getting vaccinated will protect both you and others and we’re asking people to help us to help them by booking their jab as soon as they are eligible.”
Vaccine information & debunking myths
A wide range of information is available on vaccines, including how they were developed, tested, evidence on how effective they are. You can find the NHS information here and information from Public Health England here.
To debunk myths that have spread online, West Yorkshire Prepared have shared information that provides the facts about the vaccine.
WYP has also urged the public to remember the simple actions to keep each other safe:
- Continue to work from home if you can (speak to your employer for clarity)
- Keep contacts to a minimum and maintain a social distance from those not in your household/support bubble.
- If meeting with friends and family, use your judgement regarding close contact.
- Wash your hands regularly
- If meeting people indoors, open windows and doors to let fresh air in
- Wear a face-covering where required
- Get vaccinated as soon as you are eligible
- Take a PCR test if you have COVID symptoms and isolate with your household if you test positive.
You can find information on the latest easing of restriction here: What are the next steps in the UK’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown?