COVID19 & Our Well-being
Latest Community Champion Updates - 30th April 2021
Vaccines give better protection than expected
Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation at Public Health England, has reported that the COVID-19 vaccines are much more effective than previously thought, with more protection than most flu vaccines.
The latest data on vaccine effectiveness from Public Health England suggests that both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines cut transmission by half.
This means that the vaccines not only prevent people from catching COVID-19, but if they do catch it, it is less severe and they are less likely to infect someone else.
Booster vaccines for the Autumn
Plans are in place to provide a booster vaccine in the Autumn. This will sustain immunity and also protect against new variants. 60 million more Pfizer doses have been ordered and AstraZeneca are working on a new version to tackle variants.
A study will be launched in June to see whether it is necessary to use the same vaccine someone had for their first two jabs for their booster. By then many more of us will have had the vaccine and volunteers will be invited and randomised to different kinds of booster. This will then show which combination gives you the best boost.
Dr Peter English, consultant in communicable disease control, says, “Many vaccines work better if a different vaccine is used for boosting, for example, the hepatitis B vaccine where some patients respond poorly to vaccination but they respond better when a different booster is given. This is called heterologous boosting.”
It looks likely that annual vaccines will be necessary, particularly for the elderly and vulnerable people.
Rapid tests are now available for everyone
Around one in three people who are infected with COVID-19 have no symptoms and could be spreading the disease without knowing it. Regular testing is important to help find more of these cases, so people can isolate and break the chain of transmission.
You can now register to receive lateral flow tests. Test kits are free and arrive in a couple of days.
Register here: www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests.
If you have symptoms you need to have a PCR test which you can book here: www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.
You can collect up to 14 free lateral flow home tests from the Central MK Library, 555 Silbury Boulevard MK9 3HL. No need to book, show ID or register - just ask a member of staff. Bletchley library also provides home tests from 2.30pm.
Other collection sites can be found here: https://maps.test-and-trace.nhs.uk/
On site tests
You can visit our Central MK Library for a free on site test. No need to book. Results will be sent to you within around 45 minutes.
The test centre is open weekdays from 9.30am to 4.30pm, and stays open later on Thursdays until 7pm.
Please note: No-one with symptoms can be tested at this site. Instead, anyone with one or more of these symptoms – a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste – should book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.
NHS app will be used as a COVID passport
This summer a ‘traffic light’ system will be used to categorise different destinations. Details of which countries are on the ‘green list’ will be revealed next month. These will be destinations where Britons will be able to travel without having to quarantine on their return, although they will still need to undergo a COVID-19 test before their departure, as well as on their return to the UK.
The Joint Biosecurity Centre is providing data to determine how countries will fit into the traffic light system. They are monitoring vaccination rates, infection levels, concerns about coronavirus variants, and the accuracy of a country's COVID-19 reporting.
An NHS app will be used to allow Britons to demonstrate whether they have had a COVID-19 vaccine, or tested negative for the virus, before travelling abroad. It will be the same NHS app that is currently used by some people when they book appointments with the NHS. It will not be the NHS COVID-19 app which is being used now to ‘check in’ to pubs and restaurants for contact-tracing purposes.
Voting safely on May 6
Next week on Thursday 6 May 2021, residents in Milton Keynes will be voting for a Police and Crime Commissioner and Borough Councillors. In some areas there will also be Parish Elections and Neighbourhood Plan Referendum(s).
We are putting arrangements in place to help ensure polling stations are safe places to vote. You can expect many of the measures you’ve become used to over recent months in shops and banks, such as hand sanitiser and face coverings.
For more information about voting safely, please see our Frequently Asked Questions, which are here.
One of the ways you can help is by reporting serious concerns about workplaces and other facilities where social distancing and other measures aren’t being followed. Intelligence like this can help us to track and control virus transmission.
Please tell us when the breach of restrictions took place, and a full address of the site if known. Your details will not be shared with the person or place you are telling us about.
You can write to us at COVIDconcern@milton-keynes.gov.uk
We may not reply to all messages but we will read them all, and they’ll be used to gather intelligence so we can take action where needed.
Taking time to care for ourselves
Take some time to yourself and listen to some peaceful meditation music.
Feelings of panic, worry and general anxiousness are all normal & understandable - try to shift your mindset by looking at this great advice.
Photo credit: SELFA Children's Charity
Why not use the time to learn something new? The Open University have a huge variety of free courses you can take. Check them out HERE!
Mankind Initiative - Helping Men Escape Domestic Abuse
This can be a very unsettling time for children, schools are mainly closed, its a bit like the holidays but you can't go out to play with your friends, no sleep overs or hanging out. Here are some links with things to do for households with children:
Watch this useful video from CBBC with your children, it may answer some of their (and maybe even yours!) questions about coronavirus.
Click on the cartoon image below for the link to the full comic 'Exploring The Coronavirus'
If you want to learn some music then head over to Myleene Klass's YouTube channel for her music classes.
Provides free and confidential support to anyone under 19
Counsellors available until 10pm every day. Free, safe and anonymous online counselling for young people.
If you’re worried about a vulnerable adult call 01908 253 772
0800 58 58 58
Provides listening services, information and support for men at
risk of suicide, including web chat
Support for Young Carers under 18
0300 123 6600
Confidential advice and information about drugs, their
effects and the law
Friendly Men’s Advice Line Advisors will believe you, offer you non-judgmental emotional support, practical advice and information.
University of Reading developed the COVID-19: Helping Young People Manage Low Mood and Depression course for young people with low mood and depression and their parents and carers, or anyone who has contact with young people during the coronavirus pandemic. Find out more HERE.