As we prepare to welcome in the new year, I cannot imagine that too many of us will be sad to see the passing of 2021. It has by any measure, been a fairly tough year and whilst the majority of us have been jabbed two or three times in the past 12 months, the Covid virus still remains very much with us. A year ago, the vaccination programme was in its infancy and we were wondering whether it would work. Well, it has certainly made a big difference, and whilst not providing guaranteed protection against catching Covid, the impact if you have been vaccinated is clearly less. My understanding is that unvaccinated people with Covid-19 are up to 60 times more likely to need intensive care treatment. A pretty powerful statistic if you are still trying to decide whether to have the vaccine.
The highlight for me in 2021 was the sense of community. This is something that Eastbourne always does well. So many volunteered to assist at vaccine centres, help with taking food to those who were isolating and ensuring that the lonely and vulnerable in our community were cared for. Our thanks go to all of them, along with those who work for the NHS and other key workers who helped us get through these difficult times.
As we move into 2022, it is possible that the year will begin with fresh restrictions, aimed at slowing the speed of transmission of the Omicron variant, but there is good cause to be optimistic for the future. Medical science has acted with remarkable speed in addressing the challenges presented by Covid, and as a result the overall impact has been less than the Spanish Flu pandemic 100 years earlier. Despite this, many people have died or been seriously ill and my thoughts are with them and their families.
The Eastbourne Covid-19 Community Hub which has been in operation since March 2020 remains in place to provide help and support. Other than being closed on 3 January, those seeking help can make contact on weekdays by ringing 01323 679722.
I hope that you have a safe and healthy new year.