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  1. A teacher who caught Covid-19 more than six months ago is urging eligible people to come forward for their vaccination as she continues to battle the long-lasting impact of Long Covid. Heather Jones (51) lives in Clifton and is a teacher at a secondary school in Bolton. Heather caught Covid-19 back in November 2020 - just at the start of the second national lockdown - when she began to feel very tired before experiencing shivering and feeling hot at the same time. Initially putting it down to being a consequence of working in a school and picking up common bugs, Heather realised it was more serious when she’d lost her sense of smell and tested positive for Covid-19. Four weeks later, Heather did begin to feel the virus was leaving her system – but she was not returning to her usual self and it soon became clear Heather had developed Long Covid, where the effects of Covid-19 continue for weeks or months after the infection has gone. For a long time, Heather struggled to walk far and even short trips across the road from her house would mean her having to come back and sleep to recover. As well as the physical impact, Long Covid has impacted Heather’s mental health, as well as her financial security with having to take time off work. She said: Heather is now attending a Long Covid clinic provided by Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, which offers a variety of support to people still suffering the effects of Covid-19 such as physio and mental health support. Fortunately for Heather, with the tools and information she’s received through the Long Covid clinic, she has not had a relapse. Heather said: To find out if you are eligible for your Covid vaccine, please go to www.salfordccg.nhs.uk/covid-vaccine
  2. The UK's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has confirmed the delaying in opening up and relaxation of Covid rules, much to the anger of those in the entertainment and hospitality industry as well as those who were looking forward to weddings and family gatherings. Lockdown has now been extended delaying the roadmap for exit until at least July 19th to prevent up to a predicted 500 deaths per day. The latest move has come about due to findings that the Indian (Delta) variant is up to 80% more transmissible. The PM acknowledged that the virus can not be fully eliminated and that the country must learn to live with it to some degree. The delay will give the NHS a few vital extra weeks to to ensure as many second doses and first doses can be administered. Single doses offer some degree of protection but the all important second dose decreases the possibility of severe illness, hospitalisation and death by a much more robust amount. The PM's statement in full:
  3. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has today announced that the COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen meets the expected standards of safety, quality and effectiveness. The independent Commission on Human Medicines (CHM) has reviewed the MHRA’s decision and endorsed it. Earlier this year, the single-dose vaccine was shown to be 67% effective overall in preventing COVID-19 infection and 85% effective in preventing severe disease or hospitalisation. The vaccine can be stored at fridge temperatures, between 2 and 8 degrees, making it ideal for distribution to care homes and other locations across the UK. Through the UK’s Vaccine Taskforce, 20 million doses of the vaccine have been secured for all 4 nations of the UK and first deliveries are expected to arrive from later this year. The vaccination programme continues at pace and remains on track to offer a jab to all adults by the end of July. Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: As with all vaccines, the government is in regular contact with the manufacturers, including exploring how best to optimise supply across the current programme and preparing for a potential booster programme from later this year. Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine is part of the Cov-Boost study to assess its safety and effectiveness as the third dose of a potential booster programme. Alongside this, the government is working with the devolved administrations to ensure the vaccine is deployed fairly across the UK. The Vaccine Taskforce originally secured 30 million doses of the Janssen vaccine last year, based on the predicted clinical need at the time. With the UK’s COVID-19 vaccination programme continuing at an unprecedented scale and pace, the government has decided to amend its original order to 20 million. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) will submit updated advice for the Janssen vaccine before doses become available. The company continues to explore a 2-dose regimen of their vaccine. The single-dose regimen has also been authorised by the European Medicines Agency (EMA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The government is preparing for a booster programme based on clinical need and will publish further details in due course. The final policy will be informed by advice from the JCVI and take into account the results of clinical trials. Vaccine Deployment Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: Vaccinated people are far less likely to get COVID-19 symptoms. Vaccinated people are even more unlikely to get serious COVID-19, to be admitted to hospital, or to die from it, and there is growing evidence that vaccinated people are less likely to pass the virus to others.
  4. Vaccine effectiveness against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 variant is similar after 2 doses compared to the B.1.1.7 (Kent) variant dominant in the UK, and we expect to see even higher levels of effectiveness against hospitalisation and death. The study found that, for the period from 5 April to 16 May: The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88% effective against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 variant 2 weeks after the second dose, compared to 93% effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 variant 2 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 60% effective against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 variant compared to 66% effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 variant both vaccines were 33% effective against symptomatic disease from B.1.617.2, 3 weeks after the first dose compared to around 50% effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 variant The analysis included data for all age groups from 5 April to cover the period since the B.1.617.2 variant emerged. It included 1,054 people confirmed as having the B.1.617.2 variant through genomic sequencing, including participants of several ethnicities. Data published on Thursday 20 May for vaccine effectiveness covered the period since December for those aged over 65. The difference in effectiveness between the vaccines after 2 doses may be explained by the fact that rollout of second doses of AstraZeneca was later than for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and other data on antibody profiles show it takes longer to reach maximum effectiveness with the AstraZeneca vaccine. As with other variants, even higher levels of effectiveness are expected against hospitalisation and death. There are currently insufficient cases and follow-up periods to estimate vaccine effectiveness against severe outcomes from the B.1.617.2 variant. PHE will continue to evaluate this over the coming weeks. Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: Dr Mary Ramsay, Head of Immunisation at PHE, said: Minister for COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Nadhim Zahawi said: Separate PHE analysis indicates that the COVID-19 vaccination programme has so far prevented 13,000 deaths and around 39,100 hospitalisations in older people in England, up to 9 May.
  5. The UK Coronavirus battle is being won with every jab, at least according to the first published 'Real World' data from Scotland. As Salford's vaccine hubs and army of medical staff and community volunteers continue to vaccinate the most vulnerable within the city, good news came in the form of a study which was carried out by researchers in Scotland, who unveiled that both vaccines being used in the UK can cut hospitalisation rates by up to 95%. This is fantastic news for those who are hopeful of regaining their freedoms and some kind of normality in the coming months. Experts from the universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde, as well as Public Health Scotland, claimed the data provided 'compelling evidence' of the vaccines effect in diminishing the threat of severe illness from the virus. Professor Aziz Sheikh, the lead researcher in the study, said: The findings echo data from Israel which shows a similar outcome, with Results clearly indicating that the Pfizer and Oxford/AstraZeneca jabs slashed the risk of hospital admission from Covid-19 by up to 85 and 94 per cent, respectively, within a month after the first dose. The findings which were released this morning will only bolster vaccination efforts, with the PM, Mr Boris Johnson vowing to inoculate every adult in the country with at least the first dose by the end of July. Medical experts are quick to remind people of the need to maintain social distancing for the foreseeable future, we still have a long way to go and many months ahead before we hit those targets in what has been the largest vaccination drive in British history. Professor Chris Whitty, who is the Chief Medical Officer for England, said the study, As of time of writing there have been 474 tragic deaths at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust, with the latest death reported yesterday, Some good news came over the weekend though, as it was revealed that the vaccines DO cut transmission of the virus by up to two thirds, which will help slow the spread. With almost a third of the adults in the UK (17.5m) having already received their first shots, the first steps to freedom are being made.
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