A message from Shropshire Council’s director of public health
As we approach the end of another eventful year, it is important to take a moment to reflect. At the start of 2021, UK infections were rising, as was the pressure on hospitals, and on 5 January 2021 we entered the third Lockdown.
As the number of vaccinations increased hospitalisations dropped, and deaths fell too. Restrictions gradually eased in steps from 8 March until 19 July as the Government rolled out its roadmap.
In Shropshire we continued to encourage people to be cautious and take measures to protect themselves and their loved ones against the virus. We focused on getting as many people as possible vaccinated ,and I am proud to say we are above the national average. I’d also like to say a huge thank you to our NHS colleagues, my team and Shropshire Council staff and volunteers who have supported the vaccines rollout.
The vaccination programme continues to be successfully delivered across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin (STW). As of 16 December:
- More than one million vaccine doses (including 1st, 2nd, 3rd and boosters) have been given in STW
- 88% of adults aged 18 and over have had two doses
- 71% of people aged 40 and over have had a booster
- 57.3% of 12-15 year olds have had one dose.
The discovery of Omicron on 24 November, however, brought further uncertainty. While scientists are still investigating the potential severity of Omicron, we do know it is far more transmissible than Delta.
In response we have further stepped up the vaccinations programme. Everyone aged 18 and over is now eligible for the booster. This will give residents even better protection against Omicron.
Despite another challenging year, Shropshire residents have continued to step up and do their part to keep our county safe. You have all made great sacrifices, and for that I am incredibly grateful.
Christmas is a time to be with loved ones, and understandably families want to celebrate after a tough 12 months. There are ways we can do this safely and protect the most vulnerable.
If you are meeting up with family and/or friends:
- Ensure you are fully vaccinated and boosted
- Take a Lateral Flow Test beforehand to check for COVID-19
- Self-isolate, and do not attend gatherings and events, if you have symptoms
- Open a window to ensure indoor areas are well ventilated
- Wear a face covering in all indoor spaces, on public transport and in shops
- Keep a safe distance in public, and minimise your number of contacts where possible.
The pandemic is not over. We must sustain our efforts to limit transmission of the virus and COVID-19’s impacts. These actions will help to slow the spread of the virus and keep us safe.
We do not know what 2022 holds, but I am confident we are in a better place now thanks to the highly successful vaccination programme and all your individual efforts.
Once again, thank you for all your support in 2021.