The Prime Minister has set out the government’s ‘COVID-19 Response – Autumn and Winter Plan 2021’ for managing COVID-19 at a press conference. The publication outlines the government’s “Plan A” for the autumn and winter, and “Plan B”, which would be enacted if data suggests further measures are necessary to protect the NHS. Case rates are still high and our hospitals are still under pressure – so we would continue to encourage everyone to be mindful and take precautions to protect yourselves and others.
End of shielding
Government ministers have decided to end the option of advising Clinically Extremely Vulnerable individuals to shield, to close the Shielded Patient List (SPL) and end the Shielding Programme as a contingency support offer. This means that people previously identified as CEV will not be advised to shield in the future, and the Government will not be providing specific national guidance for them to follow.
The Government is writing to all CEV individuals to inform them of this decision. You can see a copy of this letter attached or by clicking here to view it online. The letter includes further information on the vaccine programme (including potential boosters/third doses), further information on new treatments and therapeutics, and signposting to mental health support.
As has been the case in the past, SCDC is working with County Council colleagues on a joint localised letter to follow on from this letter from central Government, to give more local information on support. This will include how local groups in communities may be able to help.
Vaccinations for schoolchildren aged 12 to 15 years old
The Government has announced that children aged 12 to 15 are eligible to have their vaccine. For healthy children of this age attending schools in South Cambridgeshire, vaccination clinics will be offered in schools, coordinated by the schools’ immunisation teams, who usually do school-based immunisations. In our area this is being run by Hertfordshire and East Anglia Community and School Age Immunisation Service. Within the next week, families should start receiving a letter detailing when their child’s school’s clinics will be held. Alternative provision will be arranged for children who are home schooled, in secure services or in specialist mental health settings.
For 12 to 15 year olds who are from CEV/immunosuppressed households, if the child/young person attends a SEND school in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, they will be contacted by their school offering a date for vaccination in the school setting. Otherwise, parents/carers of eligible children will shortly receive a letter from their GP Practice with details of where they can be vaccinated.
To maintain the high level of protection through the coming winter, booster vaccines have started being offered from this week to those adults more at risk from serious disease (priority groups one to nine), which includes:
- those living in residential care homes for older adults
- all adults aged 50 years or over
- frontline health and social care workers
- all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19, and adult carers
- adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
All those eligible will be able to receive their booster dose six months after their second dose. The NHS will contact people directly to let them know when it is their turn to get their booster vaccine. As with the previous rollout of COVID-19 vaccines to adults, the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group is coordinating this locally.
Could you be a foster carer?
Life as a foster carer is rewarding, and no two days are the same. With the continuing impacts of COVID being felt in all our communities, there has never been a better time to consider fostering as a career. So, if you want to make a real difference to children’s and young people’s lives, then Cambridgeshire County Council wants to hear from you. They are there to support you every step of the way; supporting you, and providing the best care for our most vulnerable children and young people. Becoming a foster carer normally takes four months, and the County Council offers generous allowances, round the clock support and a dedicated Social Worker. Find more information on the County Council’s website, or contact their recruitment team on 0800 052 0078 or by email.