New Year greetings to one and all, after what I hope has been a happy and refreshing break from the usual routine to celebrate Christmas, meet up with family and friends and take time to look ahead to all that 2022 will bring to us.
2022 begins with some familiar exhortations; for the second year in a row I am urging the readers of the Ongar News to get vaccinated against Covid-19. This time last year the vaccination programme was in its infancy, but as it was rolled out and the vaccine effects kicked in, we saw a dramatic drop in the number of people having to be hospitalised after contracting the virus.
The detection of the new Covid variant, Omicron has meant a return to mandatory mask wearing, and a faster roll out of the booster vaccine programme across a wide range of ages.
West Essex CCG has done amazing work in coordinating the GP surgeries, vaccine centres and hospitals for the booster vaccine programme. There are several different routes to get your booster vaccination in our area:
• most GP practices are contacting their own registered patients to invite them to a vaccination clinic as they become eligible to have their booster jab (182 days after they had their second dose)
• you can book an appointment at a participating local pharmacy or vaccination centre by calling 119 or visiting the NHS website
• you can drop-in to a walk-in vaccination centre session, or pop-up clinic without an appointment.
As I have said previously in Ongar News, the town has flourished post-lockdown restrictions, and I want this to continue. Help your friends, neighbours, local shops and businesses to keep healthy and flourish by getting vaccinated and wearing a mask. None of us want to see Ongar High Street closed and quiet again.