The Covid-19 Pandemic is continuing to put real pressure on every part of the local Basingstoke NHS: Covid related Hospital admissions are up; NHS staff sickness caused by coronavirus is creating pressures in GP Surgeries and Hospitals; and pharmacies are working hard to cope with the increased demand for lateral flow tests. NHS medical experts are clear that vaccines and boosters are the best way protect against hospitalisation, and so are the best way to help protect our NHS and the most vulnerable people in the community. Vaccines and boosters continue to be available for everyone eligible over the age of 12 and can be booked online at www.nhs.uk, with some places in Basingstoke are still offering a 'walk in' service (check NHS website for the most up to date details).
Maria Miller, local MP said, "The message is simple, get your vaccines and get boosted as soon as you are eligible. Vaccine centres continue to be open across the town. Appointments can be made online and the Hospital is still offering a walk in service at the moment for everyone 12+.
"Government restrictions are important but can only go so far in helping reduce the rate at which the new Omicron variant spreads, because it is so infectious. The fact is that Coronavirus is still putting people in Hospital here in Basingstoke.
"Thousands of people were vaccinated and boosted over the Christmas and New Year; but there are many more still to come forward. Book an appointment and keep it; or look up a walk-in centre if you want to act quicker.
"Government restrictions put in place before Christmas were to help reduce the peak of the infection, to help reduce hospital admissions; but put simply, the more people who are fully vaccinated and boosted the fewer people who will need NHS medical help because the severity of the symptoms is reduced.
"The Government were right to tighten Covid restrictions before Christmas increasing face mask wearing, more working from home and requiring covid vaccines or LFTs to enter certain venues like nightclubs and large scale events; and I know that many people acted responsibly and decided to reduce the numbers of people they met over the festive period to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. Any further Government restrictions in 2022 would be linked to the numbers needing hospital care, so the more who are vaccinated and boosted the better.
"One group that has suffered greatly over the past 2 years has been school aged children whose education has been severely disrupted. It's important to do everything we can to keep school aged children in school. Wearing face masks in the classroom is not what teachers and parents want to see, but if more children can be kept in face-to-face lessons, which provides better learning, then that is the right decision.
"Lateral Flow Tests have been in short supply because of a very significant increase in demand. People needing LFTs should check online stocks, which are replenished through the day and supplies are being sent to pharmacies as they become available. Please order only what you need to help ensure stocks go to as many people as possible. At the Hospital staff use saliva tests to monitor Covid infections and so their testing requirements are not affected by this current shortage."