MP Kevin Foster: Vaccinations are a sign we can look forward with hope
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It was one small injection in the arm for Margaret Keenan and one giant leap forward in the fight against Covid-19.
The start of the world’s first mass vaccination programme is welcome and work has been ongoing in our Bay for some time to prepare for it to start here once a vaccination was approved.
Some of our most vulnerable residents have already been invited by their GP to receive the vaccine, with plans to roll this out further if more potential vaccine candidates are approved by the MHRA.
The last few months have been tough for many, but this program starting is a sign we can look forward with hope.
This week the ‘tiers’ will be reviewed. I am hoping our Bay will head into Tier 1, yet this will depend on not only the number of new cases confirmed this week, but how the NHS is coping across South Devon and the infection rate in nearby areas, such as Plymouth and Exeter.
Some businesses which can be open are still struggling to get the level of trade they need to survive.
I am working with other Devon MPs to highlight the need for further support from the Government and we can all do our bit by supporting our small businesses.
New cases have fallen rapidly over recent weeks in Torbay thanks to the hard work of our local NHS and social care teams, along with residents doing their bit to help by following the guidance.
Yet the battle is not over and news of a significant outbreak in a care home in Exmouth indicates what can happen even in areas where cases are low overall.
It will be early 2021 before we start to see the impact of the vaccination programme on case numbers, so for now we still need to focus on the basic measures which can keep us and those we love safe.
EU TRADE DEAL?
As I am writing (on Sunday evening), talks between the EU and the UK relating to our future trading relationship are continuing.
By the time you are reading this column they may have concluded with a trade deal agreed, no further agreement or could even still be continuing.
Like so many other things in recent years relating to Brexit, many pundits will be in the media making all sorts of predictions, then when an outcome is reached claim they could see this one coming, even if their previous comments indicated they did not.
Whatever the outcome, there will be changes on January 1, 2021, and there is lots of information online to help businesses looking for facts amid all the speculation. Just head to gov.uk/transition
Following the end of national restrictions, I have restarted my regular advice surgeries, although due to current public health guidance they must be by appointment only.
My next surgeries will be on Saturday, December 19, from 11am to 1pm and Friday, January 9, 2021, from 3pm to 5pm, both at 5-7 East Street, Torquay TQ2 5SD.
Social distancing measures will be in place and a face covering must be worn unless you have a medical condition which means you cannot wear one.
To book an appointment, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 01803 214989.