Portsmouth figureheads urge residents to get their Covid vaccine
AS LOCKDOWN restrictions ease today, residents are being urged to think of the ‘common good’ and get their Covid jabs.
Danny Cowley, manager of Portsmouth Football Club, said: ‘Protect yourself, protect others, help society as we unlock.’
John Knighton, medical director of Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust, said: ‘There are still something like a third of the population who are not yet fully vaccinated and the more people that are, not only do they get individual protection but the greater the protection of our more clinically vulnerable friends, families and colleagues around our community.
‘So please do use every chance that you have to ensure that you have been vaccinated, received both vaccines and to continue to protect your colleagues, your families and our NHS.’
Roger Batterbury, chairman of Healthwatch Portsmouth, said: ‘Anyone over 18 and not vaccinated can now just walk into the city's vaccination hub at St James' Hospital without an appointment, also walk-in vaccinations at Goldchem in Albert Road and at Lalys Pharmacy in Guildhall Walk.
‘I'd like to once again thank all the NHS staff, nurses, social care staff, our wonderful City volunteers who have helped run the vaccination centres and local officials who have made the vaccination process such a success.’
Gareth Howells, 50, lead singer of Portsmouth band Bemis, said ‘I had one jab before I caught Covid and was due to have the second one in early July.
‘I've had Covid now for three weeks and during the second week I was taken to hospital because my oxygen levels were so low and I was finding it so hard to breathe.
‘They told me in the hospital that having one jab had helped my situation, but if I had managed to get both of them it was likely I wouldn't have been in hospital. It is extremely important that people take it seriously and do what they can to protect themselves and others.’
Dominique Le Touze, consultant in public health at Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘It is still the case that the more people we meet, the more opportunities there are for the virus to spread, which is why making sure you get both doses of the vaccine - now eight weeks apart - is crucial.
‘Getting vaccinated will reduce the chance of developing serious illness but we don't yet fully understand how effective vaccines are at preventing the virus being passed from one person to another. Regular asymptomatic testing, will help reduce the spread of infection by identifying the one in three who become infected but show no symptoms.’
Dr Nigel Watson, clinical lead for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Covid-19 vaccination programme, said: ‘Getting the vaccine is our best defence against Covid-19 - with every adult vaccinated, we are one step closer to our summer freedoms. The vaccine cannot give you Covid-19 and will greatly reduce the chances of you becoming seriously ill.
‘The first dose offers good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection everyone will need two vaccines and I urge people to remember their second dose. Being fully vaccinated also significantly reduces the risk of people developing long term complications of Covid-19.’
Hannah Morgan GP, who has been overseeing the community vaccination programme in Havant, said: ‘I would encourage everyone to come forward for their jabs. Unfortunately we are seeing Covid cases rising and we all want to enjoy summer.
‘If you have any concerns or queries we would rather you come and talk to us and ask us questions either during an appointment or at the clinics.’
Donna Jones, police and crime commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said: ‘It’s really important that all members of the public including younger people have their vaccines as soon as possible. What the evidence has shown us is that if vaccinated people contract Covid they are far less likely to get sick.
‘The majority of people in QA Hospital who are seriously ill have not have their vaccines and that should be a warning to us all.’
Adrian Bell, chief executive officer of the Royal Navy Royal Marines Charity, said: ‘I do think it’s important for us as a community. I would just encourage people to have it.
‘I know a few people, myself included, who have ben vaccinated and one or two of them have had a few minor side effects but that’s it.
‘The responsibility is on all of us to think about other people. It’s all very well looking after number one but we do have to think of the common good.’
Nathan Clifford, a 31-year-old from Hedge End, who contracted Covid at the start of the pandemic, said: ‘If I could go back to that time and be vaccinated then I definitely would. The effects of Covid, both long term and short term, are horrible.
‘I know people are saying they would rather not get vaccinated and just risk it but trust me they wouldn’t. I was in hospital for a week and for a few months after I still had the fatigue and it really affects your lungs – especially if you try to do any sport.’