Health Matters - By Matt Ashton

BLOG: Staying safe this festive season

Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, Matt Ashton, explains why even if you’ve had the booster vaccine, you should also take other simple precautions this Christmas to keep those you care about safe...

One of the things I am most looking forward to this festive season is spending time with friends and family.

As you’d expect, I’ve had my booster vaccine, in addition to my previous two jabs.

But it is really important we don’t fall into the trap of believing we’re invincible just because we’ve had the latest shot.

Yes, it is the strongest tool in our armory and the early evidence we have is that it provides around 70 per cent protection against you becoming sick with the Omicron variant.

However, it does not prevent you from getting Covid-19 – it just means your immune system is able to fight it off, usually without you being aware of it.

This means you may be feeling fine, but could unwittingly be passing it on to other people.

So that’s why we still need to follow other measures which will help reduce transmission, particularly as it is estimated that one person can infect up to five others.

This means:

Get tested regularly – take a Lateral Flow test at least twice a week, but especially on those days you’re heading out to meet friends, visit a pub, restaurant, the cinema, a nightclub or someone’s house

Wear a face covering – it’s now the law on public transport, in shops and most large indoor venues – but you should also do so when moving around a pub or restaurant or at the match

Ventilation – if you’re meeting in someone’s house, keep doors and windows open, or meet outdoors if you can

All of this especially applies if you are visiting elderly relatives, or people with underlying health conditions, as all the evidence from Covid-19 shows that they are the most vulnerable.

If you are a contact of a positive case of Covid and are double vaccinated then you now don’t need to self isolate, and can take daily lateral flow tests instead.

However, I also strongly recommend you limit your social interactions, particularly with vulnerable people, to further reduce the chance of spreading Covid-19 about.

Ultimately, you don’t want to be giving the gift of Covid-19 this Christmas – your relatives and friends won’t thank you for it.

Liverpool Waterfront