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Our ambitious vaccine timeline

The latest column by North West Norfolk MP James Wild during the pandemic, Friday, January 15, 2021

This week the government published the vaccines delivery plan. Rollout is being delivered through three types of site: local vaccination services; hospital hubs; and large-scale vaccination centres.

In North West Norfolk, St. James Medical Practice and Snettisham surgery are providing coverage across groups of GP surgeries. Larger sites will be announced nearer to their opening date and there will be locations in North West Norfolk.

James Wild MP column, Friday, January 15, 2021
James Wild MP column, Friday, January 15, 2021

Please do not contact your surgery to book your vaccine – you will be contacted when it is your turn.

The plan is that by 15th February everyone aged 70 or over, care home residents and carers, frontline health and social care workers, and clinically extremely vulnerable people will have been offered their first jab. Those at-risk groups account for 88% of all the tragic deaths from Covid-19 to date.

Combined with the next five priority cohorts, they account for 99 per cent so the aim is to offer a first jab to everyone aged 50 or older by the end of April.

This is an ambitious timeline to deliver the biggest vaccination programme in the NHS’ history.

To date, over 2.3 million people have been vaccinated – more than any other country in Europe.

In the next phase the aim is to provide protection to the rest of the population. The prioritisation for that will be considered carefully and there’s a strong case for teachers and other key workers to be high up the list.

It is a difficult time for so many people when the advice is to stay home.Norfolk Community Legal Service have asked me to highlight that King’s Lynn free legal advice is being provided over the phone on alternate Thursdays.Appointments can be booked on 01603 496623.

Many of you will have seen the welcome the move by Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and others to enforce the rules around face coverings (including on exemptions). Several staff members and customers had contacted me and I raised concerns with stores so I am pleased they are addressing them.

By following the rules and rolling out the vaccine programme we can look forward to an easing of restrictions and a return to normality that everyone is craving.

In Parliament this week, I called for continued support to the restaurants, bars, hotels, B&Bs, campsites, leisure attractions and other businesses that make up the hospitality sector that is so vital to North West Norfolk.

Having invested so much in supporting these businesses and their staff, it would be tragic if the benefit of the support to date is lost as firms are unable to remain viable until the vaccination programme has the impact we are all hoping for.

So I support extending the cut in VAT to 5 per cent and business rates holiday until the end of the year.

Firms also need a plan of how restrictions will be eased so that they can be prepared and help support the economic recovery and I will continue to press for that.

For now, it is important to continue to stay at home, protect the NHS, and save lives.

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