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A round-up of the changes and need-to-know information about the covid-19 pandemic.

Vaccinations for ‘at risk’ 5-11-year olds

Children aged five to eleven years of age who are most ‘at risk’ will be offered covid-19 vaccinations. This will include some 500,000 children nationally who are in a clinical risk group or live with someone who is immunosuppressed.

Parents and guardians should wait to be invited to get their child vaccinated.

Children will be offered two doses of the Pfizer vaccine, with an eight-week gap between first and second. Each dose will be 10 micrograms – about a third the amount given to adults.

All young people aged 12 to 17 are already eligible for two covid vaccination jabs.

Restrictions and Masks

Last week, all ‘Plan B’ measures were lifted in England, including the mandatory use of masks and face coverings in most public spaces.

Whilst no longer legally required, wearing masks in crowded indoor venues such as shops is still recommended to reduce the spread of covid.

However, anyone visiting Jesmond Health Partnership or any other NHS location must continue to wear a mask and observe social distancing.

We need to protect patients, including those who are vulnerable, as well as our staff. There are stricter isolation policies for NHS staff, so when team members test positive, it can severely impact our staffing levels.

Isolation and Testing

A positive lateral flow test you do at home does not need to be followed up with a confirmatory PCR test.

Instead, you should isolate immediately after a positive lateral flow test. Count this as day 1 of your isolation.

You can test again on days 5 and 6, and if both tests are negative, you no longer need to isolate. If you get a positive result, stay isolated, and keep testing until you get negative results on consecutive days.

Lateral flow tests can be ordered online for either home delivery or collection from a local pharmacist. Regardless of the result, you should enter your tests results online.

Getting Vaccinated

The best defence against covid is to get vaccinated. Vaccines are safe, free and readily available at many locations across Newcastle and beyond.

Everyone aged 12 and above needs two doses, with a booster required for those 16 and over. Depending on health conditions, some people at higher risk may be offered a third dose as well as a booster.

Across Newcastle, the percentage of people who have been vaccinated varies significantly, From 8 or 9 people in every 10 in Jesmond, Heaton and Gosforth, to fewer than 5 in 10 in areas closer to the city centre.

If you or someone you know has yet to be vaccinated, please consider all the verified, trustworthy information available to help you make an informed decision.

Help, support and advice are available to encourage people to get vaccinated and protect themselves, their families and everyone around them. You can find out more, have your questions answered and find supporting information in a range of languages on the Newcastle City Council website.

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