We know the importance of vaccines in beating Covid-19 and now details have been confirmed of how a third booster dose will be given to those in higher risk groups.
Thankfully, our response to the pandemic can now take place from a position of relative normality; certainly in comparison to the restrictions we have lived with over the last 18 months.
Booster vaccinations are to start from this week. These jabs will be rolled out to the same priority groups as before, with the NHS contacting people directly when it is their turn to get a booster dose.
Care home residents, health and social care workers, people over the age of 50, people between the ages of 16 and 49 with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe Covid-19, adult carers and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals will be prioritised.
Last week the Government reiterated that data published by the Office for National Statistics shows that people who have not been vaccinated represent around 99 per cent of all deaths involving Covid-19 in England throughout the first half of this year.
Across the UK more than four in every five adults have received both doses. The open offer of vaccines remains for anyone who has yet to come forward for their first or second dose.
My thanks to all in Crawley who have had one or both doses already. More than 78,000 people have received their first dose and over 70,000 have been given both jabs.
Also at the forefront at this time of year are vaccinations against the flu. The annual NHS flu vaccination campaign started last month with jabs to be available for all previously eligible groups; primary school children, people aged 65 years and over, vulnerable groups and pregnant women. Government has also extended eligibility for the flu jab this year to include secondary school children and people between the ages of 50 and 64.
As we approach a total of 93 million Covid jabs in arms across the UK, we cannot be complacent. To address Covid pressures the NHS in England will see an additional £5.4 billion of investment over the next six months, which comes on top of the almost £36 billion over the next three years to help our health service recover and resolve the long-standing issue of social care.
Like many in Crawley I am very grateful for the efforts of all those involved in the vaccine roll-out. As we move towards the winter months, as we go about our daily lives we will need to continue to be mindful of coronavirus to help ensure that any restrictions do not need to be reintroduced.
Henry Smith MP