Vaccination not isolation
By Dr Niruban Ratnarajah
Many people will be delighted at the latest changes in the Covid-19 rules, which came into effect on Monday.
In short: if you have had two vaccinations (or are under 18) and don’t have any coronavirus symptoms, you no longer need to self-isolate if you are told you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus.
This is good news for the countless non-infectious people who were caught up in the net, and missed out on work, school or holidays. But it doesn’t mean we can completely drop our guard.
Infection rates are back on the rise in Bolton and, while having two jabs greatly reduces your risk of serious illness, you can still catch Covid and pass it on.
That’s why I would urge everyone who is contacted by Test and Trace to go for a PCR test and find out for sure whether you are carrying the virus. If you test positive, you must self-isolate, as before. And if you develop coronavirus symptoms – vaccinated or not – you should book a PCR test immediately and stay at home until you get the result.
Even if the results are negative, please consider limiting your close contact with other people, especially those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, and wear a face covering in enclosed spaces such as public transport.
The other big Covid news this week is that all 16 and 17 year olds, not just those who are carers or clinically vulnerable, will be able to get the Covid-19 jab.
Teenagers might wonder why they should bother getting vaccinated. Young people don’t get ill with Covid, do they?
Unfortunately, they do. More young people are ending up in hospital with Covid-19, and many more may feel the effects of ‘long Covid’ for a long time to come.
Having one jab will provide 80 per cent protection against becoming seriously ill – and this could be even higher, as younger people respond better to vaccines. Those who have already had Covid will have even higher protection after a first vaccination.
In Bolton, we are offering the Pfizer vaccine to 16 and 17 year olds at walk-in clinics across the borough: appointments, and parental consent, are not needed. All the latest locations, dates and times are on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter channels, and our website.
Let me mention my colleague’s godson David, who got his GCSE results last week. He knows, as all young people do, the effect that lockdown measures have had on their schooling and social life, and how much they have missed out on. He’s visited one of our vax clinics to have his jab, because he wants life to get back to normal. And he also wants to protect his mum, brother and friends from catching the virus.
Vaccination is breaking the link between infection and serious illness. Let’s all get our jabs so we can all get back to doing the things we love without further restrictions.