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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

Leader's Blog  

Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Protecting Yourself and Others this Winter

Monday, 05 October 2020

Last fortnight has seen the introduction of an important new tool in the fight against coronavirus. After months of delays the Covid-19 App has finally been released to the general public.

The app is available to everybody in the UK aged 16 and over, and also comes in multiple languages. When you come into close contact with somebody else that has also downloaded it, a low-energy Bluetooth signal is passed between each app that logs the amount of time you’ve spent with that person and exactly how far away you were from them. This means that if they later test positive for coronavirus, the app will be able to alert you even if you don’t know each other. It will then advise you to self-isolate, as well as give you the options to check your symptoms, book a free test if required and get the results of that test delivered straight to your phone.

The app is also designed to protect privacy by creating a random ID to guarantee the anonymity of individuals throughout the entire process. No personal information such as names, addresses or date of birth is held by the app or shared with the government and NHS, and it only needs the first half of a postcode to ensure that local clusters of infections can be logged. The Covid-19 App will allow us to identify and manage outbreaks in a way that we’ve never been able to until now, and it will only get more effective as more people download and use it.

As we reach the time of year where the days begin to get shorter and colder, it is even more important that those who are eligible to do so receive their annual free flu jab. While the coronavirus pandemic is obviously still continuing to dominate the headlines and people’s attention, it is easy to forget that the common flu still kills 11,000 people in England on average each year and hospitalises tens of thousands more. By getting your flu jab you will not only be protecting yourself, but you will also be protecting the NHS from unnecessary winter pressures as it continues to do incredible work in handling the worst cases of coronavirus. In order to protect people further, many areas in Tameside are finding new ways to make it easier to get the flu vaccine while maintaining social distancing. To give just one example, if you live in Hyde you can book an appointment to a “vaccination drive-thru” meaning you can get your jab while never leaving the car.


Those eligible for a free flu jab at this point in time are anybody aged 65 or over, pregnant women, people with health conditions such as asthma and kidney or heart disease, carers, frontline health and social care workers, those with a learning disability and anybody living in a household with somebody on the NHS shielded patient list. A number of children, including those over six months with long-term health condition, those aged 2-3 year olds, in primary school or aged 11 by 31 August 2020 are also able to get a free vaccination which can be administered by a nasal spray instead of an injection in many cases. While it has not been confirmed yet, it is also likely that later in the year the free flu jab will be expanded to cover anybody aged 50-65 with no long-term health conditions. If you think you’re entitled to a free flu vaccination, please contact your GP practice or ask a local pharmacist to see what the arrangements are for your area.

As coronavirus infection numbers across Tameside and Greater Manchester continue to rise, I would encourage you all to download the Covid-19 App and, if you are eligible, also get your free flu vaccination. Now more than ever, we need to make sure that as many people as possible stay well this winter.


Posted by: Executive Leader

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