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One year on from the first COVID-19 vaccine in Sefton

Marilyn Cull - patientThis month the NHS in Sefton is celebrating the one year anniversary of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history.

Launched nationally

The NHS COVID-19 vaccination programme launched nationally in hospital hubs on 8 December, with the vaccine starting to be offered locally in Sefton from Tuesday 15 December 2020. The very first vaccination in Sefton was given to 85-year-old Southport resident, Marilyn Cull, at Southport Centre for Health and Wellbeing.

One year on from the programme launch, and over 486,000 doses of the vaccines have now been given across Sefton, starting with residents aged 80 and over as the first group to be eligible, right through to the 12–15-year old pupils currently being vaccinated in primary schools across the Borough.

Tireless efforts

Fiona Taylor, chief officer of NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Thanks to the tireless efforts of our vaccine programme teams, volunteers, GP practices and community pharmacies we have managed to get 207,000 people in Sefton vaccinated with at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccines.”

“We are so proud of everyone who has contributed to the organisation and delivery of the vaccine programme in Sefton. We have teams that have worked long hours, volunteers from the local community giving up their time to support us, and many NHS staff who have come out of retirement to help us fight against the coronavirus and protect our communities.”

“We have achieved so much but the hard work is not yet over. Our vaccination teams are still delivering first and second doses of the vaccines to those who have not yet taken up the offer, as well as delivering third primary doses to those most at risk, and booster jabs to give added protection as people become eligible for them.”

Vaccination centres

National vaccination centres were set up in hospitals and other sites all over the UK to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, with the first vaccination given on 8 December 2020 to 90-year-old Margaret Keenan in Coventry.

Local vaccination centres in Sefton were set up to help boost the roll-out of the vaccines in the borough. They were first run by groups of GP practices known as primary care networks, working together with NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, with vital support from a team of volunteers.

As the programme has developed the majority of Sefton’s local vaccination centres are now run by local pharmacies. Over the course of the year, vaccination sites have been in a variety of locations such as GP practices, town halls, community centres, pharmacies and more to help make the vaccines available to all communities in Sefton.

Needles

Dave Wilson, 67, from Maghull said: “My wife and I went to get our booster jab at Netherton Health Centre, and it was brilliant. From the minute we walked in, the staff were great and made us feel so welcome.”

“I am afraid of needles, but the staff make you feel like family and take away your fears. We would happily go back again. Thank you to everyone on the vaccination team at Netherton Health Centre, you do a great job which is very much appreciated.”

Roving teams

As well as fixed vaccination sites, the past year has seen ‘roving’ vaccination teams launching pop-up sites in different locations, such as Hugh Baird College in Bootle and Peel Ports in Seaforth, as well as visiting care homes right across the borough. Sefton has also had several visits from the ‘vaccination bus’ – a four wheeled mobile vaccine clinic that has travelled all over Merseyside during the course of the vaccination programme.

Visit YouTube to watch a video from NHS South Sefton CCG and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, looking back over the past year of the COVID-19 vaccination programme in Sefton, and meet some of the vaccination staff and volunteers. 

The NHS is encouraging anyone who is eligible but has not yet had their first or second dose, or booster jab, to come forward and book an appointment, by calling 119 or visiting the national booking service website: www.nhs.uk/CovidVaccine

To find out more about local vaccination sites in Sefton and how to book, visit the NHS South Sefton CCG website: www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk  or NHS Southport and Formby CCG website: www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk

Face covering now required in public spaces and booster jab programme expanded

After the announcement on Saturday 27th November by the Prime Minister that cases of the new Omicron  COVID-19 variant had been found in the UK, new measure have been put in place from today.

Face coverings

Public and staff are now required to wear face coverings in a range of public areas including:

  • shops, supermarkets & pharmacies;
  • shopping centres;
  • post offices, banks & building societies
  • premises providing personal care and beauty treatments such as barbers, hair salons, tattoo and piercing studios, nail salons, massage centres;
  • takeaways without space for consumption of food or drink on premises;
  • public transport;
  • any car, van or HGV, during a professional driving lesson, a formal driving test, or during one of the practical tests for giving driving instruction

This does not apply to people who are unable to wear a face covering, which includes children under the age of 11 and people who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability.

You can find out more on Face coverings, when to wear one and exemptions on the  Government website.

The reasons why some people are less able to wear face coverings may not always be visible, so we wold ask people to be considerate.

Booster vaccinations

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has announced it will be rolling out the COVID-19 booster vaccination programme to all adults over the age of 18, as well as reducing the gap between the second dose and a booster.

The Committee has also recommended children aged 12 to 15 should be invited for a second dose three months after their first.

Anyone eligible, who hasn’t yet had their first or second vaccination jab is being urged to get them now.

Use this link to book you vaccinations.

Self-isolating

Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms you should stay at home and self-isolate immediately. You should arrange to have a PCR test as soon as possible. If this PCR test result is positive, you must continue to self-isolate.

If you do not have COVID-19 symptoms, but you have a positive PCR test result, you must stay at home and self-isolate.

If you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19, you must stay at home and self-isolate if you are not fully vaccinated or if they have been identified as a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

If you live in the same household as someone with COVID-19 that has not been identified as a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant, and you are fully vaccinated or aged under 18 years and 6 months, you are not required to self-isolate.

More about self-isolating.

More information

Information is also available on the Council website.

Sefton Council Leader ‘confident’ Borough’s people & businesses will continue to protect each other as new COVID-19 variant announced

 

People in Sefton being urged to support the local economy and shop local this weekend but to do so safely

A parade of shops in Southport
A parade of shops in Southport

As the end of what has been another difficult year for local shops and businesses approaches, Sefton Council urging people to support Small Business Saturday on 4th December.

Hard-hit

Cllr Marion Atkinson, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Skills, said: “Sefton is lucky to have a range of one-off and specialist shops and businesses, many of which will have been hard-hit by the effects of the pandemic.

“I would urge people across the Borough and beyond thinking about doing some Christmas shopping this weekend to try and make those purchases locally.

“Especially as this weekend it’s Small Business Saturday, which celebrates small business success and encourages people to ‘shop local’.

This year shops and businesses are being encouraged to sign up free to the online Small Business Finder designed to help customers locate them. They can add their location and details by registering via bit.ly/RegisterSBF2021N.

Shoppers can then visit www.smallbusinesssaturdayuk.com and use the Small Business Finder to search their area or to look for specific types of shop.

Small Business Finder

Cllr Atkinson continued “The Small Business Finder is a great tool to help people find local shops and services they may not necessarily be aware existed so I hope businesses across Sefton will sign up for it and Sefton shoppers will use to check out what’s in their area.”

Although Sefton Council is keen for people to go out and support local businesses, it is also reminding people that they need to wear face coverings and masks in shops and on public transport. This in line with the Government regulations introduced this week to help prevent spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

Protection

Cllr Atkinson added: “Wearing a face masks in indoor public spaces such as shops and public transport, is now required and is what we have been advising people to do all along.

“For most of us putting on a mask takes no effort at all and a global study has shown that face coverings provide us and those around us with the best non-clinical protection available.

“However, there are people who are unable to wear a face covering, maybe because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability, and we need to be respectful of these people too.”

Cllr Atkinson also urged that before going out shopping or celebrating, people carry out and LFD test using one of the free kits available from pharmacies and other locations.

Find out more about Small Business Saturday.

Sefton Cabinet agrees ‘Dynamic Purchasing’ system for residential rehabilitation services

Sefton Council’s Cabinet today approved a Dynamic Purchasing System for commissioning Residential Rehabilitation for drug treatment and recovery.

Service providers will be invited to join the new system which, by fixing prices for similar client groups will cut down the time and cost of placement negotiations. Costing £270,000 for three years from April 2022, the Dynamic Purchasing System will also enable the Council to take advantage of changes in the marketplace which may take place over the coming years.

Completion rate

Sefton Council sees Residential Rehabilitation as an integral part of any drug treatment and recovery system and a vital option for some people requiring treatment for substance dependency. Between June 2019 and March 2021, Sefton saw a completion rate of 78% of placements.

The number of admissions almost doubled, from 34 in 2019/20 to 64 in 2020/21, in line with the impact of COVID-19 pandemic, which is thought to have resulted of behaviour change and greater vulnerabilities during the pandemic. The increased rate was sustained, with 33 placements in the first six months in 2021/22.

Specialist interventions

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing said: “Dependent drug and alcohol users require a range of services and interventions that can include residential rehabilitation, along with specialist clinical and medical programmes and psychosocial interventions.

“Our Integrated Substance Misuse: Assessment, Treatment and Recovery Service provides these users with a care pathway, which starts with community rehabilitation but can require residential rehabilitation. This enables people to make a sustained recovery in a safe and therapeutic setting.

“It is a cost-effective service that delivers results, but it comes at a price.

“Today’s decision has put the Council in a position where we can continue achieving positive results but also, with the Dynamic Purchasing System in place continue commissioning services flexibly, while also taking advantage of potential changes in the marketplace over the coming years.”

Further information

Further information about local services for drug treatment and recovery can be found at www.merseycare.nhs.uk/our-services/south-sefton/ambition or by calling Ambition Bootle on 0151 9445334 or Ambition Southport on 01704 534759.

Statement by Cheshire and Merseyside’s Directors of Public Health on the emergence of the new Omicron Variant

Cheshire and Merseyside’s Directors of Public Health have issued a joint statement on the emergence of the new Omicron Variant and the ‘difficult winter’ we all face.

In their statement, the nine Directors of Public Health stress that Omicron is an emerging situation, but say it is best to remain cautious. The go on to say we should work together to ensure that the impact can be minimised as much as possible.

They say the most important thing is that people continue to do many of the things they’ve already been doing, such as getting both doses of the vaccine, getting a booster shot, wearing a mask, getting tested, ventilating spaces and self-isolating when required.

These measures will ensure that the infection rate in Cheshire and Merseyside doesn’t get out of control.

And they thank the people of Merseyside and Cheshire for their efforts so far and say they ‘blown away’ by the resilience, kindness, and commitment seen from our local communities.

You can read the full statement by Cheshire and Merseyside’s Directors of Public Health here.

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