Residents urged to ‘book your booster’ as Omicron uncertainty prompts Plan B
Suffolk’s public sector leaders, which includes Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils, are encouraging people to get fully vaccinated, including boosters, in order to increase immunity against the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
In Suffolk, there are currently 2 confirmed cases of Omicron and 52 suspected cases*. (*correct as of Thursday, December 9).
While Government scientists work hard to fully understand the full impact of Omicron, early research shows that booster vaccinations are critical, and the effectiveness greatly increases with a third dose.
This vaccination plea comes after the Prime Minister announced Plan B measures in order to combat the significant growth of Omicron. Measures to be introduced as part of Plan B, include:
- Face coverings to become compulsory in most public indoor venues, other than hospitality
(from Friday 10 December)
- People asked to work from home if they can
(from Monday 13 December)
- NHS Covid Pass to be mandatory in specific settings, using a negative test or full vaccination via the NHS Covid Pass
(from Wednesday 15 December, subject to parliamentary approval)
It is not known at this stage if the growth of Omicron cases will result in severe disease, hospitalisation and deaths. However, the national measures will allow time for the impact of Omicron to be fully assessed and an opportunity for further immunity through vaccinations.
Stuart Keeble, Director of Public Health at Suffolk County Council, said:
“I appreciate this is not what people wanted to hear.
“Sadly, viruses mutate, which requires the reintroduction of measures to keep ourselves and others safe.
“As has been the case throughout the pandemic, it is important that people continue to balance risk and keeping safe. For example, if you are meeting friends for a festive get-together make sure you do a lateral flow test before you head out and the following day. We know lateral flow tests are effective as detecting Omicron.
“Omicron spreads through close contact – face masks play a part in stopping this spread and it is vital that people are up to date with their vaccinations, whether this is first, second or booster dose.”
Ed Garratt, Chief Executive of the Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Groups, said:
“We’ve administered almost 2 million vaccines across our patch, at large venues like Newmarket Racecourse and at smaller regular pop-up events, at local pharmacies and GP surgeries.
“Our local area is also ranked in the top five in England for successfully delivering COVID-19 booster vaccines.
“We’re constantly encouraging everyone to take up the offer of vaccination when it’s their turn.
“It really is the best defence against this virus. Our website www.sneevaccine.org.uk. is a trusted source of information and includes the latest details of walk-in clinic times and locations.”
Matthew Hicks, Leader of Suffolk County Council, and chair of the Local Outbreak Engagement Board – which includes both Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils – said:
“Suffolk has shown time and time again just how resilience and determined we are – this is another challenge we must overcome.
“Although sometimes it may not feel like it, we are in a much stronger position than this time last year and this is because of protection from vaccinations, so please continue to get your jab when invited.”