Young people in Henley are being encouraged to take all precautions not to contract COVID-19, get their vaccination as soon as it is offered and make sure they are regularly getting tested.
This supports the government’s decision to postpone the final step of its roadmap until 19 July to stop the spread of the new Delta variant and buy more time for more people to get vaccinated.
By 19 July, the government aims to have double jabbed around two thirds of the adult population, including everyone over 40 who received their first dose by mid-May. And it will accelerate the second jabs for those over 40 so they get maximum protection as fast as possible. The target to give every adult a first dose is also being brought forward to 19 July, which includes young people over the age of 18. Those aged 21 – 24 can now book their vaccination to reduce the risk of transmission among groups that mix the most and both the Bell Surgery and Hart Surgery are inviting this age group to an appointment.
Around one-third of cases in recent weeks in Oxfordshire have been in the 16 – 29 age group – with similar trends being experienced elsewhere as cases across the country have risen during June.
Ansaf Azhar, Director for Public Health at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “While ever growing numbers of people have had the vaccination there are still large numbers of people who have yet to have their first jab. On Monday, the prime minister announced that the last stage of the lockdown would be delayed as a result of a rapid rise in cases nationally as a result of the Delta variant of the virus. The government will now accelerate the vaccination programme to try to get ahead of the new variant. So it’s essential that people take advantage of the vaccine offer as soon as it is made.
“It’s great news that 21, 22 and 24 year olds are now able to join 25 – 29 year olds in having their first dose. It’s key that these young people get vaccinated to help us stop the spread of the virus, locally and nationally.
“It’s really important that everyone remembers that the full effectiveness of the first dose does not kick in until three to four weeks after the jab has been administered.
“I’d also like to remind those who have already had their first dose to make sure they have their second dose booked. The second dose is crucial in giving people stronger and longer-lasting protection from the virus.
“Bit by bit we are increasing our resistance to the virus but we are not there yet. The Delta variant has brought complications for us. Here in Oxfordshire, the 16 – 29 year old age group is a particular focus for us now. I urge everyone in this age group, and others too, to remember the old mantra of hands, face, space and fresh air and that outdoors is far safer than indoors.
“If this is a race between the vaccine and the variant – it is our behaviour as individuals, friends, colleagues, communities and families that can give the vaccine the edge in that race.”