Yesterday (6 January), Rt Hon Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford and Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, spoke in the debate on Public Health in the House of Commons. Sir David joined the debate virtually via Zoom, and used his speech to “pay tribute to Bexley Council for all its tremendous work, to all NHS staff across south-east London, who have worked for so long and so hard during the national crisis, and to the community workers who have done such great service across my borough in helping the most vulnerable” throughout the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Sir David also expressed concerns for mental health, particularly for those living in overcrowded homes and in small houses, for those living alone, the elderly and the disabled, as well as the educational consequences due to the closure of schools. However, whilst the restrictions are regrettable, they are necessary given the increased number of COVID-19 infections, and he recognised that the “crisis needs strong action and restrictions are necessary to safeguard the vulnerable, and, with the vaccination, to help beat the coronavirus”.
The Government will use this lockdown to ramp up the vaccination programme, and over 1.3million people across the UK are now vaccinated, including almost one in four people aged over 80. Furthermore, by 15 February, the NHS is committed to offering a vaccination to everyone in the top four priority groups – over 13 million people. GP surgeries across England starting to roll out the vaccine from today, and Sir David urged the Health Secretary to cut red-tape to increase the vaccine roll-out to allow the opportunity for retired GPs, nurses and pharmacists to assist in the delivery of the mass vaccination programme.