There was a great sense of finally seeing light at the end of the Covid-19 tunnel when news of major progress in vaccine research was announced.

There have been positive reports before, but the latest news was startling, with one potential solution appearing to have a 90 per cent success rate.

Due to careful planning, the UK has already pre-ordered millions of doses to ensure we can quickly get a vaccination program underway if it clears key safety evaluations.

Yet developing a successful vaccine is only part of the challenge. Once one is available the biggest logistical operation of recent times will be needed to administer it to millions of vulnerable people, with planning already underway here in Torbay.

I believe it should be our local Public Health teams, plus national NHS experts, who determine the first in line for vaccination in Torbay, not me or any other politician.

While I appreciate many will want to argue particular workers or residents should be some of the first, it is vital this program follows medical priorities.

When hearing the news I thought of my dad who lives in a local care home. A vaccine could keep him and his neighbours safe, while allowing them to enjoy visits and trips out.

He and I trust our local NHS teams with our health every day, so if advised he (or I) should receive the vaccine to keep each other and our community safe we will do.

IMPERIAL PLANS

New plans to redevelop The Imperial Hotel could be a major boost for our tourism sector as we look to build back from the impact of Covid-19.

With this plan, the Torwood Street development and the four large hotels planned by the Fragrance Group, including the new five-star Palace Hotel, it is almost hard to believe only a couple of years ago it had been some years since such a large hotel development had got underway in our Bay.

2020 has been a tough year for our tourism industry, many have been hit hard by both restrictions and travellers deciding not to travel due to Covid-19, yet the amounts being invested by private investors in these schemes indicates their belief our bay will bounce back strongly.

CLLR IAN DOGGETT

I was very sorry to hear the news Cllr Ian Doggett has died.

Ian had represented Clifton with Maidenway for many years and was a committed representative of the community he lived in, even as his health started to present several challenges he continued to undertake his duties enthusiastically.

When my mother died Ian was one of the first to send a kind message. It reflected someone who was caring, compassionate and a genuinely decent man. He will be missed.

SURGERY TIMES

With the restrictions now reintroduced I have sadly had to cancel my regular advice surgeries until further notice.

I hope to restart them as soon as possible, but in the meantime a telephone surgery appointment can be arranged.

Please note these appointments are for urgent personal matters, such as welfare, immigration, problems accessing support and benefits, rather than to discuss policy or the wider situation.

You can either email me at kevin@kevinjfoster.com or leave a message on 01803 214989 and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.