New year, new hope

By Dr Wirin Bhatiani

To describe the last 12 months as turbulent would be doing it a disservice.

It would also fail to encapsulate the sheer misery that coronavirus has brought to people’s lives, families, jobs and the economy.

Despite the restrictions on our personal freedom, we can never forget the many thousands whose lives have been taken by this pandemic.

But there is good news with which to bring in the New Year.

The first Covid-19 vaccinations are already taking place in Bolton, with priority patients aged 80+ the first to receive this potentially life-saving jab.

When it is your turn, your GP practice will contact you. Please be patient and don’t ring them so that phone lines are left free for other health enquiries.

And don’t forget to go back for your second jab in order to get fully protected.

Also, don’t fall for scammers asking you to pay; the vaccine is free. No one will ask for your bank details, or ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text to confirm you want it. Remember, jabs are not currently being given in people’s homes.

The development of this well-researched and safe vaccine is down to the amazing work of our scientists, health workers and those in the public sector.

Our GPs and their teams are working flat out to deliver the vaccine, and I also want to thank the many volunteers who are supporting them; their work is invaluable.

It’s vital that we don’t relax at this crucial moment. With a new and more infectious strain on the rise, the last thing we want is a 2021 like 2020.

We must redouble our efforts and force the infection rate down - wash our hands, wear face coverings, keep our distance and let in fresh air.

Don’t lose heart - hope has arrived. I wish you a safe and happy New Year.

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