Public Health chiefs warn of difficult winter ahead

Public Health officials in Liverpool have responded to the Government’s autumn and winter plan for the NHS, warning the city faces a difficult winter ahead.

With rates of Covid-19 still high, and seasonal illnesses such as flu and norovirus on their way – they believe the next few months will be difficult not only for the public, but for those working on the frontline in the NHS and in social care.

With schools re-opening and many more people returning to their place of work, the Government has now confirmed their five-pillar plan for dealing with Covid-19 and autumn and winter illnesses.

Although future lockdowns haven’t been ruled out, they are a last resort.

The focus is on maximising the uptake of vaccines for everyone who is eligible, so first and second doses will continue for everyone aged 16 and over, alongside single doses for young people aged 12-15 being offered from next week.

Alongside these, a ‘booster’ vaccine for the over 50s, those with underlying health conditions and those working on the frontline of health and social care services will be offered after six months with the NHS contacting eligible people when the time is right.

In addition, the roll-out of the seasonal flu jab starts next month.

Cllr Frazer Lake, Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health said: “None of us wants to see ongoing disruptions to our lives, or indeed go back to the lockdown that we faced last winter – and the best way to prevent that from happening is by us all taking simple precautions.

“The reality is that there are still too many people in Liverpool who haven’t yet been double jabbed to protect themselves and others, so if you haven’t I would ask you to do so as soon as possible.

“We know that the NHS always comes under real pressure as a result of respiratory illnesses each winter and it is vital we all take responsibility to protect it as much as possible.”

Matthew Ashton, Director of Public Health for Liverpool said: “There is a temptation to believe that life has returned to normal, but it really hasn’t as the virus is still circulating in the community at a high level and we expect this to continue now schools have returned and as more and more people return to the workplace.

“If we all take small steps to protect ourselves and others then we can minimise the spread of the virus and the chances of ending up sick or in hospital.

“That means getting double vaccinated and a booster if you are called, regardless of a prior Covid-19 infection, plus getting tested regularly and self-isolating and getting a test if you have symptoms.  In addition, please wear a face covering in crowded places, and in specific places like on public transport and in health & care settings.

“We are expecting flu to be more of an issue this season, so it is really important that you get a flu vaccine if you are eligible.

“By working together and looking after each other we can get through it.”

Liverpool Waterfront