Some say that good news rarely makes the news. Well, the successful development and roll out of the UK’s COVID 19 vaccine programme is unquestionably good news - in fact I would say it is great news. It is an achievement that will save many, many people and mean that over the coming weeks and months some very welcome normality can return to our day to day lives.
For those who have concerns or doubts about the efficacy or safety of the vaccine I have a very simple message: Vaccines save lives – they are safe, effective, and important. The COVID vaccine may be new, but it is built on decades of research, which is why scientists have been able to swiftly and effectively design, trial, approve and manufacture vaccines that prevent COVID-19.
By the end of this week we will almost certainly see the 20 millionth first dose of the vaccine given. This is a staggering figure in and of itself because of the pure logistical challenge, but behind each jab there is a personal story of sacrifice, fear, relief, and hope. I know this only too well as I received my first vaccine dose a couple of weeks ago. After a horse-riding accident 15 years ago, I lost my spleen, which has meant I have an autoimmune condition that makes me clinically extremely vulnerable. So, I was offered a vaccine as part of the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation 1 – 4 cohorts. The process was brilliant. The wonderful doctors, nurses and volunteers are doing a fantastic job at making the vaccination centres safe and efficient.
I recently had a zoom conversation with a local constituent, Edward Common. Edward is 25 years old and due to being extremely clinically vulnerable has been shielding in his room for the past year. I cannot imagine just how tough that has been for him and his family. Thankfully Edward has now had his vaccine. When I asked him what he was most looking forward to doing when we come out of lockdown, Edward said "I want to be able to live with the rest of my family in the house, go out, meet up with my friends and do what young people do. I also want to get back to playing powerchair football, both for the Northern Thunder club and England.”
All I can say to that is ‘here, here’, and when you get the chance for your jab, please take it – both for your sake and the sake of those around you.
MP for Hexham