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Omicron not mild – especially if you’re not jabbed, warn Sefton Health Chiefs

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council's Director of Public Health
Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health has reiterated the importance of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

She also warned that without full protection the Omicron variant can still make some people seriously ill, despite it having been described as ‘mild’ by some commentators.


Margaret Jones said: “The news that fewer people are being made seriously ill by Omicron and that the government is considering reducing the time infected people are required to self-isolate is being interpreted by some as the now-prominent variant being mild.

“However, unless you are fully vaccinated, which means two jabs and a booster, you are not fully protected and could end up having a stay in hospital, which surely none of us wants.”

The Government is reporting that monitoring shows protection for those aged 65 and over remains at about 90% around three months after their third dose booster. Having only two doses means protection against serious illness drops to around 70% after three months and to 50% after six months.

Huge disruption

Mrs Jones added: “While we still need to be wearing face coverings and maintaining social distance while out and about, vaccination is the single best way we can help prevent the huge disruption that is being caused to medical, transport and other services, while at the same time protecting ourselves and those around us.”

Hospitals in Cheshire and Merseyside currently have extremely high levels of bed occupancy and are seeing a huge rise in demand for their services.

The majority of people being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 have either not had their booster, or have not had the full course of the vaccine.

Highest rates

Fiona Taylor, chief officer at NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “As Sefton is seeing some of the highest rates of COVID-19 infections in the country, it is vital that we get boosted to get protected.”

“Even if you have recently had COVID-19, you still need to get your booster jab. The vaccine is designed to give you stronger immunity than having the illness.”

Book now

If you are eligible for your booster jab, you can call 119 or visit the NHS website to book an appointment or find a walk-in vaccination site that is offering booster jabs at

Booster jabs are also available from local vaccination sites in Sefton, which are taking bookings by telephone for anyone eligible. People can contact the local vaccination sites to get booked in:

  • Seaforth Village Surgery, 20 Seaforth Rd, L21 3TA: call 07979 938 229
  • Netherton Health Centre, Magdalen Square, L30 5SP: call 0151 247 6413
  • Southport Centre for Health and Wellbeing, 44-46 Hoghton Street, PR9 0PQ: call 01704 395830

People can also find out more about local vaccination sites in Sefton by visiting: or

Taking steps towards a healthier you this new year

NHS promotion for the Lower My Drinking appAfter all the indulgence of the festive season, together with Sefton Council we’re encouraging you to get the New Year off to the right start by taking better control of your health.

We’re reminding you about the number of great resources available to you if you are looking to make positive changes to your lifestyle.

Small changes

Living Well Sefton enables people to make small changes to their lives that can have a big impact on their wellbeing. It offers individual and group support around a broad range of issues, from eating better and being more active, to managing debt.

All Sefton residents are eligible and can self-refer via the website or by calling 0300 323 0181.

Right foot

Dr Rob Caudwell, local GP and chair of NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “January can be a good time to make some real changes which can improve your physical and mental health, such as taking a break from drinking.

“Persistent alcohol misuse can lead to heart disease, stroke, liver disease and liver cancer among other things.

“I would encourage you to take part in Dry January and start your New Year off on the right foot.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic harmful drinking has risen significantly, consequently impacting on people, communities, and services.


The Lower My Drinking app, which is free to download for anyone living or working in Sefton, gives advice and uses scientifically proven tools to reduce drinking to the recommended limit of 14 units a week or less.

It will help you set a drinking goal, and achieve it by:

  • Tracking progress towards an individual drinking goal
  • Recognising all the gains to be made by cutting down
  • Focusing on what is really motivating to reduce drinking
  • Sees how an individual’s drinking compares to the rest of the population

Quitting smoking

Dr Pete Chamberlain, local GP and chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, added: “Another good change to make this new year is to give up smoking.

“Quitting smoking has some real health benefits including reducing your chance of having a stroke and developing heart disease, as well as making you less likely to get cancer.”

For tips and guidance about drinking less and a range of lifestyle advice, visit the Better Health website.

Sefton Council’s Smokefree Sefton service can also support people that are trying to stop smoking.

The programme provides free behavioural support, combined with access to licenced medications to help you stop smoking.

For more information on Smokefree Sefton visit the website. Or telephone 0300 100 1000

Managing a healthy weight

Sefton Council’s Active Sefton team is offering personalised support with managing a healthy weight and exploring good nutrition alongside free sessions to keep active. Anyone interested can contact the team on 0151 934 2352.

Margaret Jones, Sefton Council’s Director of Public Health said: “Sefton Council’s Public Health team works to protect and improve health for local residents and provides advice on physical, mental and emotional health issues at

“New year is a good time for all of us to make changes in our lives but this year we all need to make sure that we remember to say COVID-safe while taking up any new activities.”

Gemma Boardman, Living Well Sefton programme manager, added: “Our Living Well Sefton mentors are always on hand to support you with your personal wellbeing goals, whether that’s to share expertise and advice or simply encourage and empower you to make positive changes throughout 2022.”

Foster for Sefton in 2022! Make a difference to a young person’s life by being their #EverydayAngel

The dedication and support Sefton’s Foster Carers provide to vulnerable children in the Borough means many of these young people see their carers as ‘Angels.’

This New Year, Sefton is launching its #EverydayAngel campaign to show its appreciation for all the fantastic work they do and for the care they provide.

Sefton is also urging local people to think about becoming an #EverydayAngel themselves by fostering a local child and help to turn their life around.

Angela and Paul have fostered with Sefton Council for three years and are helping to spread the important message about this rewarding role.

Angela said “We’re just ordinary people. We don’t class ourselves as angels but as a foster carer it is almost like you are a guardian angel to some of these children.

“At the moment we are fostering two beautiful little girls as well as working full time. If we can do it, anyone can”

Christine and her daughter Olivia foster for Sefton and really see the difference they are making to children’s lives.

Christine said: “I love fostering, it’s so rewarding to help children and watch them grow and become more confident”

Olivia said “I love to help my mum out, putting them to bed and giving them cuddles and kisses. To me my mum is an angel and I know our foster children think that too” 

Cllr Mhairi Doyle MBE, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, said:

“Our foster carers are naturally loving people with big hearts. We know that they see themselves as normal people but to Sefton and the children they care for, they are a lifeline and they truly are our ‘Angels’.

“Through our #EverydayAngel campaign we want to highlight how Sefton really values all of our carers’ hard work and dedication.

“If you think you have those nurturing qualities and feel you have something to give then please get in touch with us and find out more.”

Sefton’s Foster Carers are paid for their skills, receive full training and support, plus allowances. Anyone who is thinking about fostering can find out more by speaking to one of the team or by visiting the dedicated website at 

Or they can call the freephone number – 0800 923 2777

Advice on fuel bills and housing ahead of forecast cold snap

Frost covered fir treeWith a cold snap forecast, Sefton Council is reminding people in the Borough living on low incomes can find support through its Affordable Warmth Team.

People can contact the team at or by calling 0151 934 2222, for assistance and advice on a range of topics.


Also, the Council is reminding the Borough’s landlords that they should advise tenants facing difficulties with the cost of heating their homes to visit the Simple Energy Advice website at or call their helpline on 0800 444 202.

Ofgem also provides advice on getting help if you can’t afford your energy bills through its website at


Depending on their circumstances, tenants they may also be eligible for support through:

Stark choice

Last month, Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities said that rocketing energy bills could result in some of the Borough’s families making the stark choice between eating and heating their homes this winter.

Cllr Hardy said: “Energy price rises, combined with the Government’s cutting of £20 per week from Universal Credit in October, has resulted in families across Sefton facing a tough winter ahead.

“I want to reassure our communities that our dedicated Affordable Warmth Team are here to help.”

Housing difficulties

People facing housing difficulties that could put their home at risk, who have received an eviction notice or have rent arrears should get in touch with our Homeless Prevention Service at or by calling 0151 934 3541.

The Homeless Prevention team works with tenants to help them maintain their tenancy or with moving on to more affordable and suitable accommodation, and they can also assist landlords that are facing issues such as rent arrears and late or inconsistent rent payments.

Landlords who have concerns about vulnerable tenants can also contact the team for support in resolving the situation.


Mobile COVID testing in Sefton – January 2022

Throughout January , drive-through Mobile Testing Units will be available across the Borough.
These sites are for people with symptoms – a new persistent cough, a high temperature or a loss of sense of taste or smell – and can be booked by calling 119 or visiting
Planned dates and sites may be subject to change if testing is required in other locations:

Dates and locations for January 2022

  • Saturday 1 NO MOBILE TESTING
  • Tuesday 4  NO MOBILE TESTING
  • Wednesday 5 Litherland Sports Park
  • Thursday 6 Maghull Town Hall
  • Friday 7 Maghull Town Hall
  • Saturday 8 Southport, Esplanade Park and Ride
  • Sunday 9 Southport, Esplanade Park and Ride
  • Monday 10 Litherland Sports Park
  • Tuesday 11 Litherland Sports Park
  • Wednesday 12 Litherland Sports Park
  • Thursday 13 Maghull Town Hall
  • Friday 14 Maghull Town Hall
  • Saturday 15 Southport, Esplanade Park and Ride
  • Sunday 16 Southport, Esplanade Park and Ride
  • Monday 17 Southport, Esplanade Park and Ride
  • Tuesday 18 Litherland Sports Park
  • Wednesday 19 Litherland Sports Park
  • Thursday 20 Maghull Town Hall
  • Friday 21 Maghull Town Hall
  • Saturday 22 Southport, Esplanade Park and Ride
  • Sunday 23 Southport, Esplanade Park and Ride
  • Monday 24 Southport, Esplanade Park and Ride
  • Tuesday 25 Litherland Sports Park
  • Wednesday 26 Litherland Sports Park
  • Thursday 27 Maghull Town Hall
  • Friday 28 Maghull Town Hall
  • Saturday 29 Southport, Esplanade Park and Ride
  • Sunday 30 Southport, Esplanade Park and Ride
  • Monday 31 Litherland Sports Park

Our mobile Swab Squads are out this week.

Check our @SeftonCouncil Twitter feed for dates and locations. 

Walk-through test centres

In addition, four local walk-through test centres are open , providing easy access to COVID-19 tests for people who do not have access to a car and for those who have symptoms and should not travel by public transport.

The four local test centres are located at:

  • Bootle Town Hall, L20 7AA
  • Crosby Library Car Park, Haigh Road, L22 OLQ
  • Netherton Activity Centre, Glovers Lane, L30 3TL
  • Southport Town Hall, PR8 1DA

They are open from 8am to 6pm every day,

Those with symptoms wanting tests, need to book ahead of going to either the walk-through or drive-through sites. It’s quick and easy to book by calling 119 or going online at

Find out more about COVID in Sefton, including testing and vaccinations.

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