Presentation of Director of Public Health, Durham County Council.
The Board received a report and presentation from the Director of Public Health which provided an update on the COVID-19 Local Outbreak Management Plan, presented by the Strategic Manager Outbreak Control (for copy of see file of minutes).
The Strategic Manager Outbreak Control gave a detailed presentation which included: highlighting dashboard information; vaccine uptake information; continuation of the ‘hands, space, face’ message; information on test and trace being delivered locally; work with care homes and the university; support of local access to lateral flow testing; 77 bids relating to the Contain Outbreak Management Fund, representing £24 million to be spent by March 2022; COVID-19 Community Champions; and single points of contact.
Councillor R Bell left the meeting at 2.51pm
The Chair advised that the following responses to questions from members of the public and stakeholders would be published on the Council’s website following the meeting:
1. Why is it not a requirement for people to wear masks at both indoor and outdoor events?
From 19 July 2021, there was no longer a legal requirement to wear face coverings in indoor settings or on public transport. Lifting restrictions does not mean the risks from Covid have disappeared, we have moved to an approach that enables personal risk-based judgements. No situation is risk free, there are actions we can take to protect ourselves and others around us. The public are therefore recommended to continue to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed spaces where they meet people they don’t normally meet.
In respect of businesses, venues and workplaces - employers must complete a risk assessment and take reasonable steps to manage risks to the health and safety of their workforce and customers in their workplace or setting, including the risks of Covid. Businesses can require or encourage customers, clients, or their workers to wear a face covering.
2. Why is the vaccine I’ve received for my booster Jab (Pfizer) a different make to the one for the first two doses (Astra Zeneca)?
Most people will be offered a booster dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine or Moderna vaccine. You will be offered the right vaccine for you, which may be the same or different from those you had before. This can help increase protection and means your booster dose may be different from the vaccines you had for 1st and 2nd doses. Some people may be offered a booster dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine if they cannot have the Pfizer/BioNTech or Moderna vaccine.
Dr Stewart Findlay
3. People are getting confused about time periods between booster jabs and the time you have to wait before a Covid vaccine if you have tested positive for Covid. Can you explain this?
These are two separate issues. In terms of the booster jab it must be at least 6 months, 182 days to be precise, between your 2nd jab and the booster jab.
However, from 8 November 2021, the National Booking System will allow you to pre-book your booster appointment a month before you are eligible. This means that you can pre-book your jab for the day you reach the 6-month milestone, rather than waiting for a convenient appointment.
In terms of receiving a vaccination after testing positive for Covid, you must wait at least 28 days before any covid vaccinations jabs, be this a 1st, 2nd or booster jab.
Unless you are under 18 and healthy, where it is recommended you wait for 12 weeks. If you are clinically vulnerable and under 18, you should still wait 8 weeks.
Steve White left the meeting at 3.00pm
Dr Stewart Findlay
4. I hear on the news this Flu season is expected to be high. Why? And what are you doing to protect the NHS?
National and local campaigns are underway to encourage those who are eligible to have their Covid booster and flu jabs to do so. This winter, more people are likely to get flu as fewer people have built up natural immunity during the pandemic, and we are faced with the double threat of both Covid and flu. Therefore, it is more important than ever that we do what we can to protect ourselves and those around us, as well as helping to relieve pressure on social care and the NHS. This year more people than ever are eligible for a free flu vaccine. More information can be found at www.durham.gov.uk/fluvaccine.
We can also minimise the risk of catching flu by using the same measures we deploy against Covid – i.e. masks, social distancing, good ventilation and hand sanitisation.
That the updated Local Outbreak Management plan be noted and agreed.