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Local News

Sheffield health boss’s on hopes for Covid recovery

today18/03/2021

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Sheffield has one of the lowest Covid rates in Yorkshire and the city’s health chief says there is “light at the end of a very long tunnel”.

Director of Public Health Greg Fell is also reassuring local people that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is safe, after fears about blood clots.

More than 275,000 doses of vaccine have been given in Sheffield – that’s 45 per cent of the adult population

Among those who are shielding, 83 per cent have had the jab, and Mr Fell told a council meeting that the city is on track to have vaccinated all the nine vulnerable groups by the end of April.

To get the latest email updates from South Yorkshire Live, click here .

He said the vaccine reduces the risk of transmission, so more people getting it will help reduce the number of cases even further.

The R rate is between 0.7 and 0.9 but positive tests are just 4.5 per cent – a fall from around 13 per cent a couple of months ago.

Some European countries have paused the rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine due to fears about blood clots.

But the World Health Organization has urged countries not to halt vaccinations and the European Medicines Agency has stood by its decision to approve the vaccine.

Mr Fell said: “There are side effects, most of them are relatively minor, and there is nothing particularly out of kilter with anything that’s been noted in the clinical trials.

“It’s a balance between side effects and the benefit of vaccination, which is gargantuan and well beyond our hopes.

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“The deep vein thrombosis (DVT) story is quite hot at the moment, but the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has not changed its view. There is no direct evidence that says that the AstraZeneca vaccine causes DVT.

“DVT is quite common and on the scale in which we’re doing vaccination, there will be some DVT patients close to the vaccination but this is a correlation versus causation.

“I’ve had the text to go for my vaccine and I will have whichever vaccine it is. It’s a safe vaccine and it is definitely an effective vaccine.”

Last week in South Yorkshire there were about 1,500 cases of coronavirus, down 500 from the week before, Mr Fell said – adding it was still a “significant number”.

He added: “Sheffield has the lowest rate in South Yorkshire and one of the lowest rates in Yorkshire so credit to everybody who’s made that so.

“That hasn’t happened by magic, it’s happened because lots of people followed the rules.

“There is light at the end of a very long tunnel and I’m much more positive about the epidemiology than I have been for quite some time.”

Hospital activity has been falling for more than a month due to lockdown and cases in the elderly are also falling very quickly. Mr Fell said almost universally, cases in elderly people were very mild or asymptomatic thanks to the vaccine.

He added: “The epidemiology isn’t quite as positive in the working age population and the school age population is now definitely ticking up again nationally.

“As more children get back into school there’s more opportunity for spreads. That that was always going to happen and we need to bear in mind the positive impacts of kids being in school and having an education.

“The road map is definitely right, we’re opening cautiously. Cases will go up but vaccination is helping us control the harm.

“Many of the basic public health messages will continue over the summer but I think summer will be considerably more normal than the winter we’ve just left.

“As we open up the country, cases will go up but for now I think we’re in pretty good shape.”

Written by: Rother Radio News


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today18/03/2021


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