Over the last week we have seen infection rates at least double in most parts of East Sussex and while infections rates remain relatively low, it is clear that we are now entering the third wave. This time around, for those that have had their vaccine, the spread of infection has been contained and the severity of infection reduced meaning we are seeing fewer hospital admissions among the more vulnerable members of our communities.

Nationally, for those that haven’t been vaccinated, we are seeing a greater rate of hospitalisation and more severe Covid-19 symptoms.

As we move towards the final step of unlocking and look forward to catching up with friends and family here’s a reminder of some simple things we can all do to make sure we’re only sharing selfies and song choices and not Covid-19 this summer.

Get your jab

From the data we have access to we know that Covid is currently spreading more among those who aren’t yet vaccinated or have only received one dose proving that while sadly, the Covid-19 vaccine won’t give you superpowers, it does reduce the likelihood that you will be seriously ill. If you haven’t yet had your Covid-19 jab you could get one by visiting a walk-in vaccination clinic or booking an appointment via the National booking system.

Find out more about walk-in vaccination clinics happening across East Sussex: Sussex COVID-19 Vaccination Programme | Sussex Health & Care Partnership (sussexhealthandcare.uk)

If you are half way there and awaiting your second dose, you might be able to move your second jab forward, there just needs to be an eight week gap between doses. See if you can move your jab and check availability near you: Book or manage your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

We know there is a lot of misinformation out there about the Covid vaccine. If you have concerns about the safety of the vaccine check out this article which explains how the vaccine was developed so quickly: Covid-19 vaccines: The facts | Your East Sussex by East Sussex County Council

You can also visit the NHS website for more information: Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

One particular vaccine query we have seen raised again and again is whether or not it can affect your fertility. There is no evidence to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines will affect fertility. Claims of any effect of Covid-19 vaccination on fertility are speculative and not supported by any data.

Listen to this short video by Dr. Gayatri Amirthalingam, a consultant in the National Immunisation team at Public Health England as she explains how the vaccine works and how there is​ ​no biologically plausible mechanism by which current vaccines would cause any impact on women’s fertility.

Get tested

While having the vaccine can reduce transmission and severity of Covid-19 it won’t completely stop you from getting or spreading the virus so testing is still important. Not only does it mean anyone that has the virus can protect those around them by self isolating and reducing the risk of passing it on to others. But, getting a PCR test also allows for genome tracing which provides important information in the fight against Covid. If you think you’ve got symptoms, however mild, you need to get a PCR test, do not use a lateral flow test.

On top of the usual Covid-19 symptoms (high temperature, a new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) Doctors are reporting headaches and runny noses as consistent symptoms experienced by people with detected cases of the Delta variant. These symptoms are no more than a minor inconvenience for most. The risk is that you spread the infection to someone who suffers more serious symptoms.

For anyone without symptoms, regular symptom free testing is still really important, perhaps more so now that we are starting to socialise more and businesses and indoor venues are reopening. take it seriously.  You can pick up lateral flow tests for free from most pharmacies and a number of other locations within your local community.

Take care of those you live with

If one person in a household tests positive for Covid-19 you all need to self-isolate. This is because others in the household could catch the virus and spread it without knowing. Not everyone will develop symptoms.

If your household is self-isolating, there are steps you can take to protect each other and try to prevent others becoming infected.

  1. Extra cleaning – keep surfaces, particularly those that multiple members of the household will touch clean. Think, door handles, toilet seats and flushes, taps, light switches. The person doing the cleaning should avoid touching their face or anything else whilst cleaning, wear gloves is possible or thoroughly wash their hands after each clean.
  2. Sanitise your hands – regular handwashing probably goes without saying at this point but if you’re sharing a household with someone that does have Covid it is even more important that you do it throughout the day and especially before preparing or eating food.
  3. Ventilation – where possible keep your windows open so that air can flow through your home. This is particularly important in shared bedrooms if it isn’t possible for separate sleeping arrangements.
  4. Avoid sharing things – don’t share anything that touches or goes near to the lips such as drinks or phones and even avoid playing games that requires sharing such as cards or board games. Instead replace these games with talking games or quizzes.
  5. Consider a seating plan – if you still want to eat together try to keep some distance and don’t put someone with Covid facing someone who isn’t infected. It might feel a little uncomfortable to separate the family but by making efforts to create space between you it might prevent anyone else contracting the virus.

There is more helpful advice available from the NHS: How to avoid spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) to people you live with – NHS (www.nhs.uk)