Vaccinations stepped up in LB Hounslow because of Indian variant

Image above: Brentford Leisure Centre; photograph Google street view

Vaccinations have been stepped up in LB Hounslow because of the presence of the Indian variant of Covid in the borough. The Secretary of State announced on Wednesday 19 May that surge testing and increased vaccination would be taking place in the London Borough of Hounslow to help tackle ‘new variants of concern’.

Residents in the west of the borough, particularly Cranford and Hounslow West are being asked to get a PCR test as soon as possible and get vaccinated when they can.

‘We will be door knocking in certain areas, delivering PCR home test kits and letters of information and support over the coming days’ says a message on the council website.

Young people in Chiswick getting the call for vaccination

In Chiswick, residents can go to Brentford Fountain Leisure Centre – 658 Chiswick High Road, Brentford TW8 0HJ – Open 8.00am-8.00pm. At the moment you can only book if you are 32 or older, or you turn 32 before 1 July, or you are in usual categories: at high risk (clinically extremely vulnerable), you have a condition that puts you at higher risk (clinically vulnerable), you have a learning disability, you’re a frontline health or social care worker or you get a Carer’s Allowance, get support following an assessment by your local authority or your GP record shows you’re a carer.

You have to have an appointment, which you can book here, and are asked to join the queue no more than five minutes before the time of your appointment.

They are however texting younger people when they have extra vaccine available. The Chiswick Calendar’s reporter Matt Smith, who is 26, received a text on Saturday afternoon offering the Pfizer vaccine ‘because the vaccine centre has obtained further supplies’ and was vaccinated the following day. His flatmate (24) also received the call.

“There were dozens of young people at the vaccination centre when we turned up on Sunday” he said.

Image above: Covid testing centre at Clayponds Community Centre

Pfizer and Astra Zenica jabs work against Indian variant

Hounslow’s Director of Pubic Health, Kelly O’Neill, confirmed to The Chiswick Calendar that the Indian variant was present in LB Hounslow as well as in LB Ealing on Monday of last week, though because of the time lag in testing positive Covid results further to find out the strain, she wasn’t able to say how many.

Since then a study has been published showing that both the Pfizer and the Astra Zenica vaccines are highly effective against the Indian strain after people have received two doses.

Public Health England, which ran the study, found that both vaccines were only 33% effective against the Indian variant three weeks after the first dose, compared with 50% effectiveness against the Kent variant, but both vaccines were highly effective after two doses. They found the Pfizer vaccine BNT162b2 is approximately 88% effective and the Astra Zenica ChAdOx1 is approximately 60% effective after two doses.

Public Health England say they expect the vaccines to be even more effective at preventing hospital admission and deaths.

‘Numbers of cases and follow-up periods are currently insufficient to estimate effectiveness against severe disease, including hospitalisation and mortality, however, previous vaccine effectiveness estimates with other variants have shown higher levels of effectiveness against more severe outcomes. Therefore, higher levels of effectiveness against severe disease may be anticipated with the B.1.617.2 vaccine’.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the findings made him “increasingly confident” the final stage of easing restrictions in England could take place on 21 June. The data showed getting both doses of the vaccine was “absolutely vital”, he added.

A third of the adult population of LB Hounslow has been double vaccinated

Government figures for the rate of vaccination of adults up to Sunday 23 May show that 30% the adult population of LB Hounslow have now been double vaccinated and 50% have received their first dose. Hounslow Council is vaccinating people at a rate of 1,677 a day with the first dose and 1,033 with the second.

Slightly less in LB Ealing

In LB Ealing the percentages are slightly lower: 47.2% adults had received their first does of vaccine by 23 May; 26.2% had received their second dose. Ealing Council is vaccinating people at a rate of 1,002 a day with the first dose and 464 with the second.

Review of social distancing rules delayed by Indian variant

We were expecting to find out this week about further easing of Covid measures. The Prime Minister promised to give details by the end of this month, but the spread of the Indian variant has delayed the Government’s review of social distancing measures.

A spokesman for Nubmer 10 Downing St said on Monday that the review of social distancing rules would be published:

“as soon as possible based on the latest data, which will help inform us what measures we can take around certification”.

Asked by journalists to explain the slippage in the advertised timetable, the spokesman added:

“I think it’s reasonable for a new variant such as this and the need to gather as much data as possible to inform our decisions. It’s right to take the time to get that information before making those final decisions.”

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: Indian variant in Ealing and Hounslow
See also: Londoners urged to take part in surge tests as flights continue to arrive from India

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