I cautiously welcome the positive news we’ve had regarding the effectiveness of two covid-19 vaccines. While it is still early days, this gives us a glimmer of hope that vaccines can be approved soon – this is, hopefully, one step closer to normal life. To their credit, the government has secured enough doses for 20 million people to be vaccinated with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 2.5 million people with the Moderna vaccine when it is safe to do so. The most vulnerable will be prioritised, alongside our frontline NHS and social care workers.
There are, however, enormous logistical challenges in rolling out the vaccines. Keir Starmer and my party have been pressing the Prime Minister into urgently presenting a comprehensive plan to deliver the vaccine as soon as it is ready. We’ve also called for much greater action to be taken against social media companies that allow dangerous anti-vax information to spread online.
I know how difficult it has been for people who have family members in care homes. Many residents have now spent more than eight months with extremely limited visits from loved ones. Most care homes are now locked down, to protect their residents from the disaster we saw during the first wave. Ten days ago, I asked in parliament for testing to be made urgently available for visitors to care homes, which would allow visits to take place in a safe way. I hope the government listens; there have been positive noises from the health secretary since.
Finally, I urge everyone to continue complying with the rules of this second lockdown. I appreciate how hard things are, especially during these cold, dark winter days – but we must stay at home as much as possible to protect the lives of those most vulnerable to this virus. Areas of Leamington are seeing some of the highest case rates in the entire country. If we want to come out of this lockdown as quickly as possible, please stay at home when you can.