New Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson is joining public health officials in urging people to get their Covid-19 vaccine if they are eligible.
With the easing of restrictions, alongside new variants emerging, there is growing evidence we are once again at a critical turning point in our response to coronavirus.
Although rates remain low in Liverpool, there has been an increase in the number of cases across the UK, and locally on Merseyside, of the B.1.617 variant, which was originally identified in India.
Evidence shows the new variant is more transmissible than other strains of Covid-19, and there is now real potential for rates to increase rapidly again, in the same way it did last year.
The government is continuing to use four tests to determine when the next stage of restrictions will be eased.
The rollout of the vaccine programme
The effectiveness of vaccines in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated
The rise of infection rates and the potential risk of a surge in hospitalisations
The emergence of new variants
Last week, it was announced that the UK vaccine rollout has so far saved over 12,000 lives and prevented around 33,000 hospitalisations, although new data suggests the new variant spreads more easily, the vaccines are still working to prevent people from getting gravely ill.
Liverpool is doing well with vaccine uptake, with 78% of those in the 40+ category now having received their first dose – however it is still behind city region neighbours who collectively average 86%.
Looking at other areas of the country where the new variant has spiked, evidence shows the majority of people needing medical assistance – including intensive care treatment – are people from those age groups who have been eligible, but haven’t taken yet up the offer.
Mayor Joanne Anderson said: “I’ve had both my jabs and having my second jab has given me much more confidence to go out and about.
“We are worried about the new variant because we’re doing so well at the moment, but by working together, and by getting vaccinated we can stop cases rising.
“The Covid-19 vaccine is shown to be safe and effective, and is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and our city.”
Matt Ashton, Director of Public Health for Liverpool said: “Everyone over 36, or turning 36 before 1 July, can now access their vaccine.
“The first dose offers a good level of immunity around three weeks later, but the second dose is needed for longer lasting protection.
“Second doses for those over 50 and those at increased risk of Covid-19 will now be given at eight weeks, instead of twelve, as having the second vaccine is the best way to give maximum protection against the virus. If you’ve missed your second appointment – don’t worry, it’s not too late.
“Early evidence shows the new variant is not tending to affect people who have been fully vaccinated, so it’s more important than ever for those eligible to accept their vaccine.”