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Local student Emma, who has learning disabilities, urges Sefton residents to ‘be brave’ and get vaccinated

Sefton performing arts student, Emma James-Jenkinson and her mum
Sefton performing arts student, Emma James-Jenkinson and her mum

It’s World Immunisation Week and Emma James-Jenkinson, a performing arts student from Sefton, is sharing her COVID-19 vaccination story

She’s sharing her story because she hopes it will inspire others who are anxious or scared about getting their jab to ‘be brave’.

Emma, 17, who has Down’s syndrome, had severe anxiety about getting her first COVID-19 vaccination. Initially, she  refused to go for her jab after receiving a text message inviting her to book an appointment.

Extra mile

Unsure how to help her daughter, Emma’s mum Lynn James-Jenkinson reached out to NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and North Park Health Centre in Bootle, who went the extra mile to help Emma get vaccinated.

After overhearing Emma reassuring and motivating  herself to ‘be brave’ even though the jab might ‘hurt a little bit’, Emma’s mum Lynn contacted North Park Health Centre practice manager Cathy Riley.

Cathy offered to see Emma right away and work with her to ensure they found a way to get vaccinated safely and calmly. Cathy even offered to come out to the car park to arrange to give Emma her vaccine without her having to get out of the car.

Despite making it into the practice, Emma felt scared again when she saw the needle. But, the practice nurse helped her to overcome her anxiety by letting Emma hold her hand and doing some breathing exercises together to stay calm. They also watched YouTube videos and sang along to one of Emma’s favourite songs, ‘The Schuyler Sisters’, from the hit musical ‘Hamilton’, before administering the vaccine quickly and painlessly, much to everyone’s relief.

Happy and safe

Speaking about her experience, Emma said: “I was very scared of having the needle, but getting my vaccine made me feel happy and safe. It meant I could go back to college at Jelli Studios and see all my friends.”

“It’s important for people like me with Down’s syndrome to be brave and get their needle. When I have to go back again, I might feel a little bit scared again, but I will be brave.”

“After I got my vaccine, everyone started clapping and I felt so happy and proud for being brave.”

Human touch

Emma’s mum, Lynn, said: “Cathy and the team at North Park Health Centre were so friendly. The ‘human touch’ that they brought to our unique situation really helped us both. We felt like we were really listened to, and I can’t thank them enough.”

“I am happy knowing Emma feels safe to go out again and can get back to being a ‘young person’ and doing the things she enjoys.”

“It’s so important to make sure our young people with learning difficulties get protected from COVID-19, and it can be difficult to know what to do in this situation. I would say to any mum facing the same difficulties as us, to always call your GP or practice manager and ask for their support in making reasonable adjustments to get your family vaccinated. They are there to help.”

Strength and bravery

Cathy Riley, practice manager at North Park Health Centre said: “The strength and bravery that Emma showed had a real impact on our amazing team, and it brought tears to our eyes when she finally allowed our nurse to administer the vaccine.”

“The strength and bravery Emma showed touched us all. We were so elated that we all cheered and clapped for her and her proud mum.”

“The look on Emma’s face once the vaccination was done will stay with me always – she is proof that if you face your fears, you can conquer anything.”

World Immunisation Week , which runs from Saturday 24th to Friday 30th April, is led by the World Health Organisation. It aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease.

Find out how to book your own COVID-19 vaccination appointment, when you are eligible. 

Find out more about vaccinations in Sefton.

As temperatures go up, remember to socialise outdoors safely

As we enjoy the easing of lockdown restrictions and better weather, Sefton Council alongside Merseyside Police are reminding residents and visitors to enjoy the outdoors safely this weekend.

Under the latest Covid regulations, people are allowed to eat and drink outdoors while seated, but outdoor gatherings are still limited to six people or two households. The mixing of households indoors is still not permitted. 

Those looking to head to the coast are asked to explore travel options such as walking or cycling to avoid traffic jams and delays. If they do decide to take the car, they are reminded to park safely to respect local residents, pedestrians, cyclists and road users.

Don’t forget the basics – rule of 6, hands, spaces and face

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Many of our residents might be planning garden gatherings or trips to the coast as the good weather persists, so I would just remind everyone to ensure they take extra precautions and stick to the rule of six or two household limit on meeting outdoors.

“You are less likely to catch Covid in the open air but it’s not impossible and we should try to follow the basics of hands, face and space when meeting with others and not sharing things like picnic or BBQ equipment. Our priority is to ensure the rate of transmission in our communities continues to fall and we can all play our part in that by following the guidance.” 

More Covid-19 safety advice and guidance here: www.sefton.gov.uk/covid-19-in-sefton/covid-19-local-lockdown-restrictions/

Support businesses safely

Sefton Council’s Environmental Health Team has been reminding the Borough’s businesses and their customers to follow the guidelines.

Peter Moore, Sefton Council’s Head of Highways & Public Protection said: “With another busy weekend expected for our popular hospitality sector, we are reminding business owners and managers of their obligation to following Covid-19 regulations. We’re really pleased to see our high streets open once again with the vast majority following the guidance in place to protect us all from the virus. It’s also important to remind customers and visitors to Sefton businesses to be considerate and to follow the requirements that are there to keep both them and the people serving them safe.”

People eating and drinking outside in Southport
People eating and drinking outside in Southport

Among the latest requirements for people visiting bars and restaurants that are open because they have outdoor facilities, is the need for them to be seated while drinking and eating. The volume of any music or TVs should be kept to background levels so people don’t have to raise their voices to chat.

Also, the national regulations now mean everyone visiting a bar or restaurant needs to ‘check in’ by scanning the QR code at the entrance, for Test and Trace purposes. Previously, it was just one person from each group.

Details of how businesses can create a QR code for their premises are at www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster

Help and support for businesses available from Sefton Council’s Environmental Health team who can be contact at ETSContact@sefton.gov.uk or by calling 0345 140 0345.

Also, the Government has produced 14 guides to help businesses keep their employees and customers safe. They cover a wide range of different types of work and workplace, which can be found at http://gov.uk/workingsafely.

Plan ahead when visiting the coast

Mark Shaw, Sefton Council’s Green Sefton Service Manager, said: “We’re working with our partners across our stunning 22-mile coastline to ensure that our beaches don’t get overcrowded and that facilities like toilets, bins and extra car parking are available to ensure we can all enjoy spending time at these locations.

Mark Shaw Green Sefton Service Manager at Ainsdale Beach
Mark Shaw Green Sefton Service Manager at Ainsdale Beach

“Our advice is that people should plan ahead before coming to any of Sefton’s coastal gateways – respect other beach users and follow the guidance of our rangers or other partners keeping you safe.

“If these areas get busy then people might want to consider a trip to a park or other outdoor attraction instead, now that more places are open for us to enjoy spending time with friends and loved ones outdoors.

“And whatever you bring to the coast with you, please take home – leave nothing but your footprints and help us to look after our protected coastal landscape and wildlife.”

Anyone still planning a visit to the Sefton coast should visit www.sefton.gov.uk/beaches to find out about travel options and facilities at its beaches and to read the Visitor Action Plan for 2021.

Police to patrol and reassure across Merseyside

Chief Inspector Peter Clark said: “We expect outdoor areas to be getting busier, especially as the temperature goes up, but would like to ask people to continue respecting the latest Covid guidelines by not gathering in large groups.

“Officers will continue to be out on patrol across Merseyside this weekend to offer guidance to the public and ensure people are adhering to the guidelines both inside and outside.

“While eating and drinking outdoors is a safer way to socialise, it also helps to support local businesses and reduce the risk of parks and outdoor spaces overcrowding. Now there are a wider number of outdoor settings and attractions open, we hope people who are able to will consider enjoying these, taking the pressure off our local beauty spots.

“Police will be working with partners to ensure seating rules are being followed at venues with outdoor seating areas.

“We want everyone to enjoy the latest stage of relaxed guidelines, however I want to reiterate the importance of following the guidance that remains in place to ensure that we can continue with the progress that has already been made.

“Lastly, I’d like to thank the vast majority of residents and businesses for supporting the latest stage of the Covid roadmap and helping Merseyside to move forward safely.”

The UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation advses pregnant women should be offered COVID-19 vaccines.

The UK’s national Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is advising that pregnant women should be offered the COVID-19 vaccine.

In its statement, the Committee said that there have been no specific safety concerns identified with any brand of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines in relation to pregnancy. This means  the vaccines should be offered to pregnant women at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.

JCVI member Dr Maggie Wearmouth has made a video to provide advice about COVID-19 vaccination and pregnancy.

No safety concerns

The statement said:

Real-world data from the United States shows that around 90,000 pregnant women have been vaccinated, mainly with mRNA vaccines including Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, without any safety concerns being raised.

Based on this data, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that it’s preferable for pregnant women in the UK to be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available. There is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines are unsafe for pregnant women, but more research is needed.

The advice, published in Public Health England’s Green Book, a clinical professional guide for vaccinators in the UK, still advises that pregnant women should discuss the risks and benefits of vaccination with their clinician, including the latest evidence on safety and which vaccines they should receive.

Any brand

Professor Wei Shen Lim, COVID-19 Chair for JCVI, said: “We encourage pregnant women to discuss the risks and benefits with their clinician – those at increased risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 are encouraged to promptly take up the offer of vaccination when offered.

“There have been no specific safety concerns from any brand of COVID-19 vaccines in relation to pregnancy.

“There is more real-world safety data from the US in relation to the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines in women who are pregnant – therefore, we advise a preference for these to be offered to pregnant women.”

All vaccines being used in the UK have undergone robust clinical trials and have met the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)’s strict standards of safety, effectiveness and quality.

Confidence

Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at Public Health England (PHE), said: “The available data on the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines provides confidence that they can be offered safely to pregnant women.

“The COVID-19 vaccines continue to save thousands of lives and it is important that we encourage as many people as possible to take up the offer when it is their turn.”

Evidence

Dr Edward Morris, President of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), said: “We are grateful to the JCVI for taking into consideration our evidence and updating the guidance around the COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy.

“Vaccination offers pregnant women the best protection from COVID-19, which can be serious in some women.”

“We believe it should be a woman’s choice whether to have the vaccine or not after considering the benefits and risks and would encourage pregnant women to discuss with a trusted source like their GP, obstetrician or midwife, or a healthcare professional in a vaccination centre.

“This move will empower all the pregnant women in the UK to make the decision that is right for them, at the same time that the non-pregnant population in their age group receive protection from COVID-19.”

Effective

Data shows that vaccines are effective in protecting people from serious illness from COVID-19. Though uncommon, severe illness due to COVID-19 is more likely in later pregnancy. Pregnant women who do get symptomatic COVID-19 infection are 2 to 3 times more likely to give birth to their baby prematurely.

The greatest risk factor for severe outcomes from COVID-19 is age, which is why pregnant women should be invited for vaccination along with their age or clinical risk group.

Women who are planning pregnancy, are in the immediate postpartum, or are breastfeeding can be vaccinated with any vaccine, depending on their age and clinical risk group.

The JCVI will continue to closely monitor the evidence on COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy and will update its advice as required.

Huge success

The COVID-19 vaccination programme has been a huge success, with recent PHE analysis showing the vaccines have prevented 10,400 deaths in those aged 60 and older in England up to the end of March.

The JCVI advised last week that, as a precaution, it is preferable for people under the age of 30 with no underlying health conditions to be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine where possible.

More about Vaccinations in Sefton. 

Dog Control Public Space Protection Order approved by Sefton Council

At the full Council meeting on Thursday 22nd April 2021, the reintroduction of a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) to promote responsible dog ownership across Sefton was given approval.

The measures are based on the previous Dog Control PSPO which saw a reduction in dog related complaints across the Borough during its three-year implementation from July 2017 to July 2020.

The revised Order has been formulated by Sefton’s Legal and Public Protection teams in conjunction with Green Sefton, the Council service responsible for its parks and open spaces. Failure to comply with the Order will result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of £75.

When drawing up the order, the Council took account of input from nearly 1,200 residents, dog related organisations and interested groups, gained through a public consultation, that took place in two parts last year owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

As well as it still being an offence to not remove dog fouling, the PSPO:

  • Restricts the number of dogs that can be walked by one person to a maximum of six;
  • Prohibits dogs from entering enclosed playgrounds and fenced sports pitches, including multi use game sport facilities;
  • Prohibits dogs from entering marked sports pitches during specified periods;
  • Ensures dogs are kept on a lead of no more than 2m within defined picnic sites and family areas, all public roads and footways and all cemeteries and crematoria;
  • Allows authorised officers to direct a dog owner to place their dog on a lead to prevent a nuisance or behaviour likely to cause annoyance or disturbance to others.

Peter Moore, Sefton Council’s Head of Highways & Public Protection, said: “The majority of dog owners across the Borough already understand and do most of the things in the Order anyway, so the reintroduction of these measures will have very little or no impact on them at all.

“What the Order will do is continue to encourage greater responsible dog ownership and promote a cleaner and greener environment across Sefton’s parks, open spaces and neighbourhoods.

“We’ll be reviewing the existing signage at our parks, playgrounds and picnic areas to ensure that those who use our brilliant outdoors spaces to spend time with their four-legged friends are aware of their responsibilities.”

Over the coming weeks, there will be a focus on raising awareness of the reintroduction of the PSPO and the rules that need to be followed. 

A Public Space Protection Order is an official measure that is an enforceable part of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

PSPOs can be used to protect the public from behaviour that is having or is likely to have a harmful effect on the quality of life of those in an area.

Further detail about the PSPO will be added to the Council’s website in the coming days and weeks at www.sefton.gov.uk/dogs

Sefton’s businesses and their customers asked to stay considerate and follow requirements to protect their safety

People eating and drinking outside in Southport

With the first weekend since the easing of national lockdown restrictions approaching, Sefton Council’s Environmental Health Team is urging the Borough’s businesses and their customers to follow the guidelines.

Preparations

Peter Moore, Sefton Council’s Head of Highways & Public Protection said: “Since the restrictions eased on Monday, we have been working with Sefton’s businesses to provide help and advice and we have been pleased to see the thorough preparations the vast majority of them have made.

“With a busy weekend expected for our popular hospitality sector, we are asking business owners and managers to ensure they are familiar with the latest regulations.

“But we are also asking their customers to be considerate and to follow the requirements that are there to keep both them and the people serving them safe.”

Latest requirements

Among the latest requirements for people visiting bars and restaurants that are open because they have outdoor facilities, is the need for them to be seated while drinking and eating. The volume of any music or TVs should be kept to background levels so people don’t have to raise their voices to chat.

Also, the national regulations now mean everyone visiting a bar or restaurant needs to ‘check in’ by scanning the QR code at the entrance, for Test and Trace purposes. Previously, it was just one person from each group.

Threat

Mr Moore continued: “Despite the easing of restrictions and the good progress of the NHS vaccination programme, COVID-19 is still very much with us and while around a third of people, will show no symptoms, it can still present a serious or even lethal threat to some.

“Everyone is, therefore, required to scan in with the QR code so that they can be traced should any cases of coronavirus be detected.  This can help prevent them from passing on the virus accidentally.”

Details of how businesses can create a QR code for their premises are at www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster

Distancing

As well as these specific requirements, Sefton Council’s Environmental Health officers have been reminding local businesses about the need for continued distancing, wearing face coverings, maintaining ventilation where possible and washing their hands thoroughly and frequently.

Help and support for businesses available from Sefton Council’s Environmental Health team who can be contact at ETSContact@sefton.gov.uk or by calling 0345 140 0345.

Also, the Government has produced 14 guides to help businesses keep their employees and customers safe They cover a wide range of different types of work and workplace, which can be found at http://gov.uk/workingsafely.

Considerate and conscious

Mr Moore added: “We want people and businesses to have a good and successful weekend and to enjoy their new-found freedoms, but we would also ask everyone to be considerate and conscious of their own safety and the safety of those around them at all times.”

Sefton Council is urging people who are out and about, going to a work environment or who will be returning to take regular rapid tests for coronavirus.

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