Rossendale Free Press

Vaccine joy...but new virus tier woe

- STUART PIKE @stuartpike­78

THE eagerly awaited rollout of Covid vaccinatio­ns across the Valley began this week in Rawtenstal­l.

Rossendale council said the first patient to receive his jab was 86-year-old Mr James Randell.

The general public are asked to please not contact the NHS to try and get a vaccine, as the vaccinatio­n programme will be carried out in a careful, planned way with invites to those in the high priority groups from their GPs.

Janet Hall, of Longacres Drive, Whitworth, contacted us to say she was among the grateful early recipients on Wednesday.

She said: “I want to thank the NHS staff for the well organised system. Everything was perfect. I know it’s their job but neverthele­ss they were all caring and instructed our proceedure well. Thank you again.” Rossendale council leader Coun Alyson Barnes said it was “great news for Rossendale” and offered “a light at the end of the tunnel”.

“The vaccine is a major step in helping us to bring Covid-19 under control and

I urge everyone who is offered the vaccine to have it - but people must wait until they receive an invite from their GP and not turn up at vaccinatio­n centres unless they have been asked to,” she said.

“I know it has been an incredibly difficult time with families not being able to socialise and mix as they would have normally done over the holiday period, but the start of the vaccinatio­n programme is a light at the end of the tunnel. However, it’s still incredibly important that we all play our part and continue to follow the prescribed guidelines. Working together for the good of our communitie­s and Rossendale, means we will get through this safer and hopefully quicker.”

Valley GP Dr Abdul Mannan said: “We are really excited to be starting the delivery of the vaccines in Rossendale. It is still important that everyone continue to follow the guidance but hopefully it is the beginning of the end of Covid-19.”

There was some long overdue further positive Covid-related news this week with a Covid-19 vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZenec­a approved for use in the UK, paving the way for rapid rollout.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the approval of the Oxford vaccine was “fantastic news” and confirmed that the rollout would begin on Monday, January 4, 2021.

In a tweet, he wrote: “Brilliant to end 2020 with such a moment of hope... the #coronaviru­s vaccine is our way out of the pandemic - now we need to hold our nerve while we get through this together.”

The announceme­nt comes following concerns over a new fast-spreading variant of coronaviru­s, currently concentrat­ed in London and the south east.

The infection rate in Rossendale has fallen slightly to 202.8 cases per 100,000 population with the rate among the over-60s at 141.4. Having been marginally above the average England case rate the last time the tiers were reviewed, Lancashire is now significan­tly below it - with 241.4 cases per 100,000 people in the week to December 25, compared to 401.9 across England.

 ??  ?? ●● James Randell, 86, was the first person in Rossendale to get the vaccine
●● James Randell, 86, was the first person in Rossendale to get the vaccine

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