Covid A Year On: Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami reflects on 'an incredibly tough year'
- Credit: Spitfire PR
Hitchin and Harpenden MP Bim Afolami marks the anniversary of the first lockdown with a celebration of the success of the vaccination programme and the community spirit shown during the course of the pandemic.
"It has now been 12 months since the COVID-19 pandemic turned daily life upside down. For many of us, this has been an incredibly tough year, as COVID-19 has claimed many lives and transformed the ways in which we relate to each other and navigate the world. But there is now light at the end of the tunnel.
"After a year, the international community has developed several effective vaccines for COVID-19 and we have (at time of writing) vaccinated over 27 million people in the UK. We should be particularly proud that Harpenden Health PCN has been recognised as one of the best vaccine roll-out programmes in the country. We are making strong and steady progress on a national level and in and around Harpenden.
"We should face the next few months with confidence and optimism. In our published vaccine delivery plan, the Government set itself a target to vaccinate 14 million people by mid-February. This was a tough target, but we did it. This week we surpassed 660,000 doses administered in a single day.
"In the first phase, efforts were focused on the priority groups who have been identified by clinical experts: care home residents and their carers, frontline health and social care workers, people aged over 70 and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.
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"These groups account for 88 percent of the UK’s coronavirus deaths. They have now all been vaccinated, and we are currently on track to vaccinating all those aged 50 or above by early May.
"Looking back on this past year, it is clear that despite the terrible impact of this pandemic, it has brought communities closer together. We have a wonderful, generous community spirit, and it shows. I would like to thank all those across Hitchin and Harpenden who have helped out during this pandemic, whether this may be working in difficult circumstances as a frontline worker, teacher or shop assistant, or in volunteering with the NHS or local community groups, or just by looking out for vulnerable neighbours and friends.
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"As we continue to make progress and prepare for lockdown restrictions to be cautiously released, I want to thank people for the sacrifices they continue to make. I know how tough it has been – not least for those who have lost loved ones – but we can be optimistic about the coming months."