Shannon Katiyo gives advice as the Omicron virus spreads
Shannon Katiyo, Director of Public Health Wandsworth Council
Last Christmas we welcomed the news of the long-awaited vaccines that would prove so successful in the battle against COVID-19. As we reflect, we know that these vaccines have saved countless lives and protected millions of people since the first jab was given.
Like many other parts of the country, Wandsworth saw a huge reduction in the number of our residents ending up in hospital or experiencing serious illness due to COVID-19, and the number of related deaths remains significantly lower. That was a real success. Unfortunately, the new variant – Omicron - is resulting in a rapid rise in the number of cases running alongside the Delta variant. This has resulted in one of the most rapid rise in cases that we have seen during the pandemic.
With people getting together at Christmas, the virus will continue to spread, potentially causing more disruption. We need to act quickly to protect ourselves and reduce the risk of more disruption.
We now know that having the booster jab at least three months after your second jab will provide improved protection and reduce the chances of becoming more seriously ill from COVID-19.
Together with the NHS we worked hard to make sure that everyone could have had their booster before Christmas. You can go online to book an appointment, or you can also go to walk in and pop up clinics at The Roehampton Vaccination Centre at Queen Mary's Hospital, WJ Boyes Chemist, Balham or Pearl Chemist, Tooting.
We need everyone to add “Get Boosted” to the top of their Christmas to-do list. If you haven’t had your first or your second jab, now is the time to do it. Never feel like it is too late to get vaccinated! We won’t ask any questions as to why you haven’t had it, so just set the time aside. Look closely at the evidence that showing how well the vaccines protect people from symptomatic disease, hospitalisation and death.
I know that this is not where we hoped to be this year, but we have done so much together to keep everyone in the borough safe. The huge numbers of people who have already had the vaccine put us in a much better position than we were last Christmas, so I want to thank all of you for the effort.
And finally, thank you for everything you have been doing to stay safe. Even if you have had all your vaccinations, continue to “Flow Before You Go” by taking a rapid test when the risk of COVID is higher, wear a face covering when required, try to meet outdoors, but if meeting inside, please open a window, and of course, wash your hands regularly. If you do have symptoms of COVID-19, isolate and get a PCR test. Do it all, do it well, do it consistently.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Director of Public Health
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December 29, 2021