Covid-19 vaccine progress welcome - but keep on keeping safe

A picture of Keith Reid

The prospect of new vaccines coming on line soon to combat Covid-19 is a very welcome light at the end of this pandemic tunnel – but we still need to take precautions to protect ourselves and others.

Swansea Bay University Health Board Director of Public Health, Dr Keith Reid, is concerned that some of the national media coverage given to any incoming Covid-19 vaccine could lead to some people letting their guard down too soon.

The virus is still with us, so handwashing, keeping a safe distance (two metres) from others and wearing a face-covering in enclosed public spaces remain the most important ways to avoid catching Covid-19 and passing on.

Dr Reid said:

“It is of course, incredibly positive that a vaccine with a 90% protection rate is being developed, and our planning in being able to deliver this vaccine has been underway for some time and is progressing very well. 

“However, while vaccines are part of the answer, they are not the whole part. 

“It concerns me that some elements of the media have almost implied we are all saved and this will all soon be over. 

“I don’t want that to impact on people’s behaviour, thinking that they can just go back to normal. 

“In Wales of course, as we emerge from the firebreak, it is more important than ever that our communities follow the rules to try and drive the number of infections down.”

Swansea Valley GP Dr Iestyn Davies, has also called for people to continue to be vigilant and to carry on following the rules to keep the virus at bay. He said:

“While there is rightly cause for optimism with news that a Covid vaccination may be soon be ready, it would take well into next year for it to be rolled out to everyone such are the logistics involved.

“As such, the enforced safety measures, such as restricted access to our surgeries, pharmacies and clinics, social distancing and wearing of face coverings, still apply - and we greatly appreciate the manner in which you have adjusted to the ‘new normal’.

“The important message is we are still here for you. If you need to see a doctor or have access to any of our other services, please get in touch – the only difference is we ask that you do not turn up in person to make an appointment in order to minimise any risks of spreading the virus.

“When you do have an appointment please wear a face covering, unless you are medically exempt, sanitise your hands on entering and follow the social distancing measures.

“I know it may seem strange and intimidating but please do not be put off by our new way of operating, it is all designed to keep everyone safe.”

If you have Covid symptoms (a high temperature, a new and continuous cough, the loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, and problems with your breathing) you need to self-isolate and book a test.

You can book a test at the drive-through centres at the Liberty Stadium in Swansea, and Margam, by calling 01639 862757. Alternatively, if you prefer to be tested at one of our new mobile community testing units, please book via the Welsh Government website: https://gov.wales/apply-coronavirus-covid-19-test. You can also ring 119 to get a home testing kit delivered to you.

Please stay home (unless you are going to get a test) as soon as you get any symptoms. This includes the period between getting a test and having your result.

If you have been told you must self-isolate but are on low income and cannot work from home, you may be eligible to a payment of £500 towards your loss of income. More details can be found here: https://gov.wales/self-isolation-support-scheme

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