In his latest column for us, Denton MP Andrew Gwynne heaps praise on everyone involved in the Covid vaccination programme locally which is progressing well.
Watching or reading the news over the past ten months or so has – unsurprisingly – not always been fun.
The pandemic has been a grim time and some days it feels like the only news around is bad news. This week, I’d like to focus on some very positive and promising news right here in Tameside.
I’m sure you were just as delighted as I was when, towards the end of last year, we found out that there was not just one but three working vaccines for Covid-19.
We all worked out fairly early in the pandemic that a vaccine was the only way for us to return to normality so this was probably the best news of 2020 (admittedly there wasn’t a lot of competition!).
But even with the vaccines approved, we knew there would be a wait as they were rolled out.
Luckily for us here in Tameside, the start of this roll-out has been a huge success locally.
Thanks to the incredible hard work and dedication of those in our local NHS, the council, the armed forces and others, all working in careful coordination with each other, the vaccination programme is going incredibly well.
Approximately 90 per cent of those over 80 have received at least one jab, which compares to 35 per cent nationally.
There has been no wastage or stockpiling and all vaccines that have been received have been distributed.
It is, of course, early days, but I’d like to thank everyone involved in this amazing effort for working so quickly and efficiently to vaccinate some of our residents who are most vulnerable to the virus. The quicker we get vaccinated, the quicker restrictions can be lifted and we can start to return to normality.
The success of the roll-out also shows the difference it makes putting local bodies in charge, rather than outsourcing to private companies at a national level, as we saw with the Test and Trace system, which has been incredibly expensive despite never really working.
Our local health and council workers understand the situation here and this has helped them deliver this programme so successfully.
There is still a long way to go before all the vaccines have been given (both first and second jabs) but this is a great start and evidence from elsewhere has shown that infections will also come down as more people are vaccinated.
So let’s follow restrictions to keep each other safe while we wait for our turn to be vaccinated.