November 2021 Update - Advice And Support From The Trust For All Beneficiaries
Sadly two beneficiaries have died in the last few months who were diagnosed with COVID-19, and this has, understandably, raised some questions from beneficiaries. The first beneficiary had not been vaccinated against COVID-19. The second had been double-vaccinated but had some very serious underlying health conditions that made them vulnerable to the virus and actually caught the virus whilst they were seriously ill in hospital.
This Coronavirus Update aims to address some of the questions and concerns you may have.
Do the vaccines work?
Yes! Figures from Public Health England (PHE), a government body, estimates suggest that over 140, 000 hospitalisations, over 110,000 deaths and more than 20 million infections have been prevented as a result of the vaccination programme.
So, for most people, COVID-19 vaccinations prevent serious illness, going into hospital or death. The vaccines also reduce the chance of getting long COVID by half. Long COVID is the illness that persists after the infection has gone, and can cause symptoms like ongoing tiredness, memory loss or shortness of breath.
The COVID vaccinations, like every other treatment or vaccine, isn’t 100% but it provides the best protection we have against this disease.
It should also be noted that overall cases of hospitalisation due to COVID-19 of the beneficiary community has been low – with only three beneficiaries in total being admitted to hospital due to COVID-19.
Do the vaccines mean I can’t catch COVID-19?
It is still possible to catch and spread COVID-19, even if you are fully vaccinated. As described above the vaccines help to prevent you from getting seriously ill or admitted to hospital if you do catch COVID-19.
What can I do to protect myself against COVID-19?
Ensure you are both double vaccinated and have received the booster. If you haven’t booked for the COVID-19 booster, you can do so by clicking the button below.
If you still have some questions about the vaccine, you can read our question and answer sheet for further information.
Should I still be wearing a mask?
We realise some of you may be exempt from wearing a mask. For others who aren’t, you may be asking if it’s still worth wearing a mask, even if restrictions have eased.
In general, the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19 is higher in crowded spaces (where there are more people who might be infectious) and in enclosed indoor spaces (where there is less fresh air) which is why we recommend wearing a mask in these situations, even if you have had all of your vaccines.
Should I still be meeting up with friends and family?
We know how important it is to still see friends and family but it’s also important to try and reduce the risk as much as possible.
When a person infected with COVID-19 coughs, talks, or breathes, they release droplets into the air which can be breathed in by another person. Meeting outdoors reduces the risk of transmission through the air, but this may not always be possible, especially with colder days ahead of us. If you’re indoors, you should open windows to try let fresh air in to reduce the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19.
Some evidence suggests that high levels of ventilation could reduce the spread by air by up to 70%.
What should I do if have symptoms?
Just as before, if you have symptoms of COVID 19, you need to self-isolate and arrange a test called a PCR test, even if you have had your vaccinations. You can get a PCR test through this NHS website link.
Remember lateral flow tests are only for people who don’t have symptoms.
Anyone who is notified they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive should also take a PCR test as soon as possible and self-isolate if required. Download and use the NHS COVID-19 app to know if you’ve been exposed to the virus.
Should I be taking any supplements?
With the short days and dark nights, it’s easy for our vitamin D, the ‘sunshine’ vitamin, to get low. So it’s important to take a vitamin D supplement but also a vitamin C supplement too.
All of us should be taking 1000mg of Vitamin C and a minimum of 600-800 IU/d vitamin D3 daily to help support our immune system. If you do not like taking tablets, then vitamin D3 is available in liquid form, and you just need a drop or two on your tongue daily.
What other steps can I take to protect myself?
Don’t forget about your flu vaccination either. We are expecting higher rates of flu than last year so please make sure you have your flu vaccination as well. You usually have to leave it a week between the flu and covid vaccination.
What can I do if I’m worried about getting COVID-19 or need someone to speak to?
If you have concerns or worries, please speak to a member of the Health & Wellbeing team on 01480 474074.
Take care of yourself – and keep safe and well!
Director of Health & Wellbeing