COVID-19 is still with us and staying safes still matters
Thank you to everyone in Barnsley who's continued to follow safe behaviours and get vaccinated to protect our borough.
Restrictions have eased and we're enjoying more aspects of normal life, but we’ve still got to follow these behaviours so that we can live with COVID-19 safely.
Getting into the habit of popping on a face covering when you’re out in busy areas, washing your hands as you return home, opening a window as you welcome friends over, taking a test before heading to work, and leaving a gap in the supermarket queue are all simple, small actions we can do that will make a big difference.
Small actions make a big difference to coronavirus
Coronavirus (COVID-19) is still with us and it's still possible to catch and pass on the virus even if you’re fully vaccinated. There are simple but effective actions we can all take to protect ourselves and reduce the spread. Take a look at the guidance and support below.
Actions we can all take to keep each other safe
There are lots of safe behaviours we can all continue to follow to protect ourselves and those around us from coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Hand washing – wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water, or use hand sanitiser if you’re out and about.
- Face coverings – while it's no longer the law to wear a face covering in indoor public spaces, you're advised to wear one as much as possible to help reduce the spread. This is particularly encouraged in areas that are busier and where social distancing is harder, eg on public transport and in supermarkets. Find out more about face coverings, including the reason for using them, how to wear one correctly, and how you can make your own.
- Make space – try to maintain a safe distance of two metres from people you don’t live with to reduce the risk of being a contact.
- Let fresh air in – where possible try to meet up outdoors as this will help to blow away any coronavirus particles in the air. If you do meet up indoors, open windows and doors to let fresh air circulate. We understand this is more difficult in the winter months; try opening windows for short bursts of time - this will make a big difference.
- Don’t be a contact – consider the number of different people you're meeting up with over a short amount of time. The more people you see, the higher the risk of you catching and passing on coronavirus to your family and friends.
- Keep close contact to a minimum – consider the number of different family members or friends you’re getting close to and try to keep this to a select number of people.
- Download the NHS COVID-19 app - it's the fastest way to see if you're at risk from coronavirus, alerting you if you've been near another app user who's tested positive. You can also check symptoms, book a test and get your result, keep track of your self-isolation, as well as access relevant advice.
- Take rapid lateral flow tests before periods of high risk – order and pick up free lateral flow tests from a local pharmacy, or order delivery online, to get your family testing before visiting areas of high risk to stop the spread of the virus. You're at higher risk of catching or passing on coronavirus in crowded and enclosed spaces, where there are more people who might be infectious, and where there is limited fresh air.
- Get fully vaccinated – the vaccine helps to protect yourself and your loved ones from coronavirus by giving you the best protection from serious illness and reducing the risk of you passing it onto others. Join the thousands of people already vaccinated in Barnsley - book to have a coronavirus vaccine on NHS.UK.
- Assess the risk - when you’re heading out, remember to assess the risk:
- How busy is the area you’re visiting? If it's busy, try to spend as less time as possible in that area.
- Consider wearing a face covering in busy and crowded indoor areas.
- Can you meet up outdoors? The risk of catching and passing on coronavirus reduces if you meet up outside.
- Are the people you're meeting vaccinated or more susceptible to the virus? Remember to consider the risk of getting closer to people who haven’t yet had both doses of their vaccine or if they’re more at risk of serious illness from coronavirus.
Ways to test for coronavirus
If you have symptoms of coronavirus
If you have symptoms of coronavirus you should get a PCR test and self-isolate immediately.
The symptoms are:
- a high temperature
- a new continuous cough
- a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell
Lateral flow home test kits if you don't have symptoms
Everyone can access free testing kits for coronavirus so you can test yourself for the virus at home.
Advice and support if you need to self-isolate
- Find and request support during the coronavirus pandemic
- Self-isolation rules for coronavirus
- How we're supporting NHS Test and Trace
- Test and Trace support payments
The NHS COVID Pass
The NHS COVID Pass shows your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination details or test results; this is your COVID-19 status. Although it's not a legal requirement for venues to ask for your NHS COVID Pass, some venues may still choose to run the NHS COVID Pass voluntarily and request visitors to show this.
What NHS COVID passes are available and how do I get one?
To get a digital NHS COVID Pass for domestic events and venues, you need one of the following:
- To be fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine used in the UK - the NHS COVID Pass is usually available two weeks after you're fully vaccinated.
- A positive PCR test within the past six months - the NHS COVID Pass is available after you've finished self-isolating and up to 180 days after taking the test.
- A negative PCR test or negative lateral flow test within the past 48 hours - the NHS COVID Pass is available as soon as you get your result. If you did a rapid lateral flow test at home, you need to report the result first. Find out how to report a rapid lateral flow test result.
- To be part of an official COVID-19 vaccine trial in England or Wales - the NHS COVID Pass is now available to you. Contact your clinical trial site if you cannot get your domestic NHS COVID Pass.
- A confirmed medical exemption from COVID-19 vaccination or testing - the NHS COVID Pass is available once a doctor, clinician or midwife has approved your exemption application. Find out about COVID-19 medical exemptions and proving you're unable to get vaccinated.
If you can't access a digital pass on your smartphone you can request a paper pass online for domestic events in England, or by calling 119. Paper passes can only provide vaccination status.
To apply for a paper pass for domestic events in England you must:
- be aged 18 or over
- be fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine used in the UK
- have had your vaccination in the UK or certain countries abroad
- be registered with a GP in England or the Isle of Man
- have waited two weeks after being fully vaccinated before submitting your request for a paper pass
Getting fully jabbed gives you the best protection
Getting vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19) gives you the best protection from serious illness and long-term health conditions. It also helps to protect those around you by reducing the risk of you passing it on. Getting vaccinated will help us to return to the things we love doing safely.
Getting your vaccine in Barnsley
The coronavirus vaccines are safe and effective. They give you the best protection against COVID-19. Find out more about the coronavirus vaccine on NHS.UK.
Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine
Everyone aged 12 and over can get a first and second dose of the vaccine.
How to get a COVID-19 vaccine
You can book an appointment to have your vaccine online or by calling 119.
You may also be able to get your first vaccine dose from a walk-in vaccination site without needing an appointment.
If you get your first vaccine dose at a walk-in site you still need to book to have a coronavirus vaccine on NHS.UK or call 119 to book your second dose.
A coronavirus booster vaccine dose helps improve your protection from COVID-19. It helps give you longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from the virus.
If eligible, you can get a booster dose at least three months (91 days) after you had your second dose.
You can book your COVID-19 booster dose online if:
- you're aged 16 or over
- it's been two months (61 days) since you had your second dose
You'll be offered appointment dates from three months (91 days) after the date of your second dose.
COVID-19 vaccines and pregnancy
COVID-19 vaccines are recommended in pregnancy. Vaccination is the best way to protect against the known risks of COVID-19 in pregnancy for both women and babies.
Vaccination for frontline social care workers
From 11 November 2021 all care home workers need to be fully vaccinated unless they're exempt under the regulations. There are plans for vaccination to be a condition of deployment for all health and social care staff from 1 April 2022.
Why you should have the COVID-19 vaccine
Catching COVID-19 can be serious and may lead to long-term problems. Just under one in 100 people that catch COVID-19 will sadly die from it.
It can affect anyone, including young, fit and healthy people with no previous medical problems. One of the biggest challenges is some people can have COVID-19 without any symptoms, and pass it on to others without knowing.
Useful information links
- Facts and useful information about the COVID-19 vaccine
- Frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine – regularly updated from Barnsley CCG who are leading the local vaccination programme in Barnsley
- NHS COVID-19 vaccination information (NHS)
- Guidance and resources for children and young people
- What to expect after vaccination (PHE)
- What to do after the vaccine - videos in different languages (NHS)
- Easy read information about COVID-19 vaccination (PHE)
- BSL information about COVID-19 vaccination (PHE)
- Social care staff guide on COVID-19 vaccination (PHE)
- Vaccination information and frequently asked questions in different languages (NHS)
- Information about allergies and the vaccine (Anaphylaxis.org)
A coronavirus booster vaccine dose helps improve your protection from COVID-19. It helps give you longer-term protection against getting seriously ill from the virus.
Where can I get my COVID-19 booster vaccine?
You can book an appointment at a local vaccination clinic through the national NHS booking system or by calling 119. Appointments are being added regularly to make sure there's a time to suit everyone.
Why is a booster vaccine needed?
The booster vaccine is recommended in order to give longer-lasting protection against COVID-19.
A recent study from Imperial College London suggests that protection from vaccines starts to reduce three months after vaccination. The REACT study, which looked at 100,000 swabs taken between 24 June and 12 July, found that COVID-19 infections are more common in people who had their second dose three to six months ago, compared to people who were vaccinated in the last three months.
This supports research from Oxford University, which also found that immunity from COVID-19 vaccines start to decline in the first three months after the second dose.
Because the vaccine hasn't yet been available for long enough, there are no large studies of effectiveness beyond six months from the second dose.
How effective is the booster against the Omicron variant?
The vaccines offered by the NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Deployment Programme have been shown to substantially increase antibody levels when offered as a booster dose.
Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective. Some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe. The JCVI will continue to review its recommendations and consider further evidence to ensure that health benefits are maximised alongside the rapidly evolving data on the Omicron variant.
Following the uncertainty about the Omicron variant, it's more important than ever to take up the offer of the COVID-19 vaccine to protect yourself and others, as well as reducing the risk of overwhelming the NHS at what is already a busy time of year.
What's the difference between a ‘third dose’ and a ‘booster dose’?
The main difference is the reason why it’s being given.
If you're immunosuppressed or immunocompromised, you'll be offered a third primary dose to increase the immediate level of protection you get from the vaccine. This is because you may not have a strong enough immune response after two doses. This is given eight weeks after your second dose and is part of your primary vaccine course, so it's not considered a ‘booster’.
A booster vaccine is being offered to all adults, because we know that immunity from the vaccines wanes over time and to give the best possible protection against the Omicron variant.
How effective is the COVID-19 booster?
Several studies have shown that boosters significantly give a big increase in protection against illness from COVID-19. So it’s important to get your booster when you're offered it.
A real-world study by the UK Health Security Agency shows that boosters significantly increase protection against illness from COVID-19. The study found that two weeks after a booster dose, protection levels increased to 93.1% for those who had AstraZeneca for their first two doses, and 94% for those who had Pfizer.
Findings from the UK-based Cov-Boost trial published in the Lancet showed that all the available booster vaccines improved immunity against COVID-19, regardless of which vaccine had been used as a first dose. All the booster vaccines led to an increase in antibodies that target the virus.
In most cases the booster vaccines also caused an increase in T-cells, a type of white blood cell that's involved in fighting infection. The exception was that the AstraZeneca booster vaccine didn’t lead to an increase in T-cells in people who already had AstraZeneca as their first doses.
Overall, this research supports the UK policy of offering Pfizer or Moderna booster vaccines. The AstraZeneca vaccine is not usually offered as a booster, apart from to people who are unable to have Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for medical reasons.
Some of the news coverage of this research has focused on the different increases in antibody levels (measured 28 days later) between different booster vaccines. The study authors warn against focusing on this because it's unclear how relevant this is to long-term protection against the virus.
How long does the booster take to be effective?
Studies have shown very high protection one or two weeks after the booster jab.
A recent trial by Pfizer suggests that from seven days onwards, a booster dose of Pfizer is extremely effective at preventing illness from COVID-19.
The first UK real-world study, also looking at the Pfizer vaccine as a booster, only started to measure protection levels against COVID-19 illness from two weeks after the booster. Again, protection levels were very high at this point.
No large-scale trials have looked at how long a booster dose of Moderna takes to be most effective, but we do know that the vaccines work in similar ways.
How long after having COVID-19 do I need to wait to have my booster?
If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 you need to wait before getting your booster:
- four weeks (28 days) if you're aged 18 or over
- 12 weeks (84 days) if you're aged 17 or younger
- 4 weeks (28 days) if you're aged 17 or younger and at high-risk from COVID-19
This gap will help to separate any side effects of the vaccine from effects of your illness. If you’ve already booked your booster appointment and then test positive, make sure to log in and reschedule your booking.
Is the booster jab an updated vaccine?
No, the vaccines being used as boosters have not changed or been updated. Studies have shown that a booster dose of the original vaccine offers very high levels of protection against COVID-19, including the Delta and Omicron variants.
Can I still catch COVID-19 after having a booster?
Yes - while it's much less likely, it's still possible to catch COVID-19 after having a booster dose.
However, getting the booster will reduce your risk of becoming seriously unwell if you do catch the virus, as well as offering you longer-lasting protection.
What are the side effects of the booster?
Side effects from the booster are usually similar to those experienced after a second dose. If you do experience side effects, they're likely to be mild and last no more than a few days.
The most common side effects of the booster are:
- pain or heaviness in the arm and shoulder area where you had the injection
- feeling tired
- a headache
- fever or chills
- aches or muscle pain
- general flu-like symptoms
You can take paracetamol to treat them.
If you have a fever following your booster jab that lasts longer than a couple of days, or you have any other COVID-19 symptoms, stay at home and get a PCR coronavirus test on GOV.UK.
If you do experience severe side effects call 111.
Will my booster jab show on my NHS COVID Pass or certificate? How can I prove I’ve had my booster?
In England and Wales proof of your third dose or booster dose will appear on your NHS COVID Pass.
Will people who have already had their booster jab now need to receive a further booster after three months?
The JCVI hasn't yet made a recommendation on this.
Keeping our residents safe and well
We understand coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed everyday life for many people. We have a wide range of support services that are there to help you manage the impact of coronavirus on your personal life.
Your health and wellbeing
- Mental health and wellbeing
- Ways to stay active: What's Your Move
- Supporting your recovery after having COVID-19
- How to use the internet to stay in touch with others
Support with finance and housing
Support for young people at school
- Attending school during the coronavirus pandemic
- Supporting children with SEND during the coronavirus pandemic
Be aware of coronavirus scams
A scam is a dishonest scheme designed to cheat you out of money. Unfortunately a number of scams around coronavirus have been reported to us, so we urge you to take care.
Getting Barnsley back in business
We're working with local businesses in Barnsley to offer them support, help them trade safely and welcome customers back. Take a look at how Barnsley’s getting back in business below.
Guidance and support for businesses
The impact of coronavirus in our borough
We all need to work together in Barnsley’s fight against coronavirus (COVID-19), and understanding the bigger picture of what's happening in our borough is part of this.
Coronavirus intelligence for Barnsley
You can find the latest coronavirus figures for Barnsley on the GOV.UK coronavirus dashboard:
- Cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Barnsley
- Deaths due to coronavirus (COVID-19) in Barnsley
- Healthcare in Barnsley Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (patients admitted, in hospital and in mechanical ventilation beds)
- Vaccinations in Barnsley
Coronavirus stories from local people
Each person in Barnsley has their own story of how they’ve managed throughout the pandemic. It’s clear from the coronavirus stories shared with us that our communities working together has played a big part in this.
Barnsley's coronavirus response and recovery plans
Barnsley Outbreak Control Engagement Board and plan
We have an Outbreak Control Engagement Board which will help prevent the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19) within the borough and effectively manage outbreaks if and when they do happen.
Our Barnsley Outbreak Control Plan (OCP) is driving our approach to prevent, detect, respond to and reduce the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) among our communities.
We’ll not be complacent in our approach; our focus is on:
- using our local knowledge and expertise to boost the national NHS Test and Trace programme at a local level. We’re developing our COVID-19 support service to provide advice and guidance to residents, schools and businesses on self-isolation. The service is also following up the contact tracing of confirmed COVID-19 cases that have not successfully been contacted by the national programme.
- building on the financial support and advice that we’ve already provided to our local businesses by making plans to further support those who are most affected by the government’s new additional measures.
- prioritising support for Barnsley’s care homes and their residents, working with them to ensure they can continue to deliver safe and effective care. We’ll do this through financial support, help with guidance and advice from local NHS and social care teams, support with training and help to minimise the risks of increased infections. We’ll also do whatever we can to support families to keep in touch with loved ones living in care homes.
- making sure that residents that need our support the most get it through a range of support via our hardship funds and community assistance.
- supporting schools, colleges and early years settings to make sure they robust control measures in places, with updated risk assessments and outbreak control plans to keep children and young people safe. We continue to support them to deal with any positive cases and potential outbreaks quickly.
- developing a process to support people to self-isolate properly when they have symptoms, test positive or are told to by Test and Trace. We’ll be looking at how we can ensure compliance and work with South Yorkshire Police to enforce this when people are repeatedly not following the legislation.
- supporting our local businesses to operate safely, providing advice on how to follow the government’s legislation. We’ll be responding to concerns about businesses who are not following the legislation, working with colleagues at South Yorkshire Police to take enforcement action on those that are repeatedly putting people at risk.
- provide information, so people understand their role in protecting themselves, their families and their communities by adhering to social distancing measures, washing their hands, wearing a face covering and getting a test and self-isolating if they have symptoms.
- work closely with Public Health England and our local health partners to share information, resource and best practice so our response is the best it can be.
- pay very close attention to what the data is telling us about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19); continuously reviewing our action plan so we can identify high-risk areas, target our support and respond to any changes, trends or potential outbreaks.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery plan
We’re doing everything we can as a council to support our residents and businesses across the borough.