COVID-19: We must steel ourselves in the ‘final push’ to help get us through the pandemic

COVID-19: We must steel ourselves in the ‘final push’ to help get us through the pandemic

Professor Michael Griffin OBE, President of The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, discusses the significance of the vaccine and how staying at home is now non-negotiable in order to protect the NHS.

It is difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel while the UK continues to be subject to tough lockdown measures and the NHS battles through the surge of coronavirus cases we’ve seen over the past few months, and especially in recent weeks. But the light is there.

In order to end this pandemic, the vast majority of the population must have the vaccine. It has been disheartening to see misinformation and anti-vax messaging trying to encourage people to not have it.

If large numbers of people do not receive the vaccine, we cannot truly eradicate the spread of the virus.  It is especially important that healthcare workers take up the offer of the vaccine when it is made available to them, along with the flu vaccine which is offered to this group every year.

We believe it is our duty as a Royal Medical College to emphasise the advantages and importance of being vaccinated, and we strongly encourage all of those who are eligible to receive the vaccine.

It is also vital that people stay at home and follow the current public health advice in order to help curb the spread.  This is the single most important thing we each have in our power to do - we all have a part to play in bringing the pandemic to an end and we must do it now to ensure this is indeed the final push in our efforts.

Before every potential interaction outside of our own household, we must each stop and think extremely carefully about whether we really need to do it, no matter if it is ‘allowed’ under the restrictions. If it is not essential, we should not do it – we can make no better show of support to our NHS than that.

If we all steel ourselves for these next crucial weeks, we can prevent our health service from being overwhelmed and allow time for the vaccine roll-out to offer some protection, all of which will enable vital surgical work, much of which is now on hold, to resume. Getting these procedures back up and running is so important – as is a return to more normal daily living.

We can all do our bit to take us one step closer to that light at the end of the tunnel – let’s get from here to there as quickly and with as little further loss of life as possible.

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