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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

Leader's Blog  

Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Staying the Course Against Coronavirus

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

Yesterday marked a year since the beginning of the first coronavirus lockdown. As part of a National Day of Reflection, Dukinfield Town Hall was floodlit in yellow to symbolise our shared grief for those who have tragically lost their lives to this terrible pandemic.

In the midst of this sombre occasion however, there is a bright spark of optimism. Our vaccination rollout has now seen nearly 100,000 residents protected with a first dose. My thanks go out to everybody involved in the programme for their tremendous work in getting these life-saving medicines delivered to residents as quickly as possible.

In recent days there has been some concern about the Astra-Zeneca vaccine increasing the risk of blood clots. While 17 million people in the UK and Europe have now received the AstraZeneca vaccine, only 37 have developed cases of blood clots afterwards. NHS research has also shown that there is no difference in the rate of blood clots between people who have had the vaccine compared to those who have not. If you are contacted by the NHS to book your vaccination appointment, please ignore the scaremongering and get the jab you need to protect yourself and those around you. While we know that there are some side effects from the vaccination, they are mostly mild and can be treated quickly with painkillers, such as paracetamol, if necessary.

It’s especially important that the vaccination programme continues because it is starting to have a real impact on our ability to lift some of the toughest lockdown restrictions. Last Wednesday the government announced that the 3.8 million people in England who are considered to be “clinically extremely vulnerable” to coronavirus will no longer have to shield after 1 April. While those on the shielded list will be able to follow the national restrictions alongside the rest of the population from this time, they are still advised to take extra precautions including strict adherence to social distancing and limiting their social contact.

I know that, after the past twelve months of lockdown and social restrictions, we’re all looking forward to the possibility of things starting to reopen, but we must be mindful of the fact that the virus is still with us. Tameside’s rate of infection has fallen consistently in recent weeks, but this rate of decrease is now starting to flatten out. Because of this, it is more important than ever that we stick to the rules and work together to protect our communities. This includes not mixing households, continuing to wash hands, wear face masks and practicing social distancing, and getting tested if you have symptoms, or if you don’t have symptoms but cannot work from home, or if you’re in a household with a child attending school or a teacher. Council teams are also on call to help with workplace outbreaks and carry out spot checks at supermarkets and retailers, while police are continuing to deal with serious violations of social distancing such house parties and other indoor gatherings.

I’m particularly grateful to many of our local businesses for supporting our “Do The Right Thing” campaign to highlight our coronavirus safety messages. You can also do your bit to get the word out to your friends, families and communities that we’re not out of the woods yet. The worst case scenario if we allow infection rates to rise unchecked is that Tameside may be left behind under local restrictions while the rest of the country opens up again, which is the last thing that any of us wants. 


I know that the past year has been incredibly difficult for everybody, but lives and livelihoods are still at stake. The more we keep looking after ourselves and others, the sooner we will be able to return to a more normal life. Let’s work together and give it one last push.


NOTE: As the pre-election period - for the local and GM mayoral elections on 6 May 2021 - begins on Monday this will be my last weekly blog until after the election. Thank you for reading and see you in a few weeks.


Posted by: Executive Leader

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