Bolsover MP: 'Vaccinating vulnerable is only the first hurdle'
As I write, news has just come through that we’ve now vaccinated one in every three adults across the country. Across the UK, three million people are now being vaccinated every week.
Here in Derbyshire, that’s more than 250,000 people who now have the relief of the additional protection the vaccine offers them in our constant fight against Covid.
It has been a phenomenal effort from so many different forces.
Nationally, the Department of Health and leading logistics officers from our Armed Forces have set the pace.
Locally, our GPs, hospitals, pharmacists and Clinical Commissioning Group have worked tirelessly to get jabs into the arms of our most vulnerable.
For the Derbyshire MPs, it feels like we’ve spoken about little else in the past two months.
It was so important to get this programme right, and it has rightly demanded our attention.
I’ve spoken to our local health team on a weekly basis to ensure we’re on track, and my inbox has been flooded with emotional emails from constituents who have now had the jab.
The target of vaccinating the first four priority groups, which account for 88 per cent of all Covid-19 deaths, by February 15 has now been met and I would like to thank all the volunteers and NHS workers who made this world-leading vaccination effort possible.
Now we’re onto the next five cohorts, which we hope to do by mid-April.
I pay tribute to all of those involved, and the stark contrast between our vaccination programme and those seen elsewhere really demonstrates how well it has all gone.
But this is only the first hurdle of 2021.
There are many millions more who need to be vaccinated.
We need to open up society again at the right place, get our children back in schools and also get our economy firing on all cylinders again.
This pandemic has affected many people in Bolsover, from young people unable to go to school and people unable to work to those who have struggled with their mental health.
We must now keep the same energy and purpose that has powered our vaccination efforts, and meet these challenges head on.
So while we celebrate this amazing achievement, we must now reset our sights on the next challenge.