Message from Julia Burrows, Director of Public Health, Barnsley - 19 November 2021

We are currently seeing falling case rates in Barnsley, but they remain uncomfortably high.  This is a concern because the whole health and care system is under significant pressure and is likely to be so for several months to come.

Thank you to everyone who continues to wear face coverings

I was an early advocate for wearing a face-covering in indoor public places, and it is as important now as ever.

Small actions - like wearing a mask – by lots of individuals can have a large benefit for the whole population by reducing overall virus transmission. We don’t always know whether we are infectious or not so the choice whether or not to wear a mask when you go out could be the difference between saving or taking a life – it really can be as stark as that.  It’s why every time I see someone wearing a face covering when I go into the town centre, I am so grateful to each of them for their selfless act.

Evidence of the effectiveness of face coverings in reducing transmission continues to mount and in a recent survey by the ONS, 8 out of 10 adults said they thought wearing a mask was important or very important as a way of slowing the spread of COVID-19. 

Having two doses of the vaccine followed by a booster dose is keeping people safe

We now know that the immunity we get from our first two doses of COVID-19 vaccines declines around five or six months after the second dose. We have seen this effect locally as some people in their 70s and 80s – those who were first to get vaccinated – started to become more seriously unwell again.  Luckily though, as more and more people have now taken their booster dose, we are seeing that trend reverse again. It is, therefore, crucial to get your COVID-19 booster vaccine when offered it – particularly because it will help keep you safer over the risky winter months.   

I must stress though that by far the most unprotected are those who have not had any vaccination at all, and it is never too later to come forward for your first dose.

We see again and again across the country that unvaccinated people are sadly far more likely to become seriously unwell and die as a result of Covid. 

The UK Health Security Agency suggests that having three doses of the vaccine cuts the risk of infection by 93 percent. 

The vast majority of Barnsley adults have had a vaccination, and we are keen to support the small minority who may want more help or information in getting their vaccine.  Please call 119, visit www.barnsleyccg.nhs.uk or email barnsleyccg.vaccines@nhs.net.

Thank you for everything you are doing to protect yourselves and those around you while COVID-19 is still with us.

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