The vaccine has given us all much needed hope at the start of 2021. However, cases nationwide and across Oxfordshire remain high, and the daily deaths remain tragically high. I urge everyone to continue to follow the rules to keep everyone safe.
Effective and efficient roll-out of the vaccine is crucial to putting us on a path out of this crisis. Analysis carried out by the Labour Party shows that every single week of the pandemic so far has cost the NHS £1 billion, the UK economy £5.3 billion and working people 23,000 jobs. This is why it is so important that we all come together to vaccinate Britain, to enable us to secure our economy, protect our NHS and rebuild our country. We can all help the national effort by talking to friends, family and the community to reach out, support and encourage vaccinations and tackle disinformation. And, of course, you can help by taking the vaccine when it is offered to you.
Many in Oxford have been doing fantastic work in their own communities. For example, the Imam Monawar Hussain and Northfield Brook City Councillor Hosnieh Djafari-Marbini have worked with the local NHS Trust to put together a video for the Farsi speaking community, and the Imam has worked hard to put together other videos in a range of languages for communities across Oxford. These can be accessed and shared from the Oxford Foundation YouTube channel, including a joint message from our local faith leaders encouraging everyone to take up the offer of a vaccine.
Nurses, receptionists, GPs and community volunteers have also come together to safely administer the jabs at our local vaccine centres. Last Saturday I had the privilege of visiting the Manor Surgery in Headington, where around 300 people were being vaccinated, ranging from frontline healthcare workers to the elderly. I had the pleasure of meeting two ninety-year-olds, one of whom said he couldn’t wait to get back onto the tennis court!
The vaccine centre had safe and efficient processes in place to check people in, ensure recipients of the vaccine understood the process, and then securely administer the vaccine itself. There was a one-way system in place and good ventilation to keep visitors to the centre safe – they really had considered everything. The fantastic volunteers helped to support the entire system, and it would be great to see even more Oxford residents getting involved to support the procedure.
It was heartening to see the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine being administered at the centre. Not only because it is an amazing achievement made here in Oxford, but also because it is easier to transport and store. It is also faster to administer, as the vast majority of people are not required to wait around afterwards for observation. Hopefully this will allow us to make the process faster and easier for recipients of the vaccine and our healthcare workers.
We are all invested in getting the vaccine roll-out right. So let’s vaccinate Oxford and let’s vaccinate Britain.