'Give us more vaccine' say councils as Covid cases increase across Lancashire
Three councils have cranked up the pressure on the Government to increase its jab allocation in Lancashire to help fight the spread of the Indian variant.
Preston, South Ribble and Chorley all say the best way to stem the latest rise in Covid cases in North West hotspots is to accelerate the vaccine roll-out locally.
The move follows confusion last night over Government guidelines about travel in the eight worst-affected areas in England, which include Bolton, Blackburn with Darwen and Burnley.
With 71 new Covid cases recorded in Preston in the week up to last Thursday, the city council believes the more vaccines the county can get hold of, the better chance it will have of turning things round.
“We are monitoring the emerging situation,” said a Town Hall spokesperson. “And we are in regular dialogue with the Director of Public Health and his team.
“We believe that it is clear that the most effective way to tackle this variant is to increase the availability and uptake of vaccinations especially in areas of greater transmission.
“We are calling on government to increase the vaccine rollout in Lancashire to protect vulnerable people and implore everybody to take up the vaccine when it is offered to you.
“We all need to remember the essential ‘hands, face, space’ to protect ourselves, our families and our community.”
Coun Paul Foster, leader of South Ribble Borough Council where positive tests remained the same week-on-week, backed the call for more vaccine in Lancashire saying: “Whilst it is of course a concern that the number of cases in the North West has been rising, we do not feel that the imposition of local lockdowns is in any way appropriate.
“The focus must be on supporting local councils in increasing testing and tracing, and to continue the roll-out of the vaccination programme – particularly in the areas where the variants are taking hold.
“Vaccinate the entire community; everyone above the age of 18 must be offered the vaccine and it will stop the spread.
“We will continue to liaise with colleagues across Lancashire and do everything we can to support the community. We urge the Government again to engage directly with us – we are actually the solution to these issues.
“Local authorities were promised clear and concise communication from the Government as we continue to deal with the spread of COVID-19. This was promised but again not delivered.”
And in Chorley, which has seen a big rise in cases, the council's executive leader Coun Alistair Bradley said: “It is a concern that cases have been rising in the North West. However, we do not believe that any type of local lockdown is the right course of action.
“Instead, the priority should be on increasing the number of vaccinations and ensuring that more testing is carried out to control the spread of COVID-19.
“We will continue to work with regional and national authorities to contain the virus and to encourage residents to take sensible precautions and adhere to the up-to-date public health advice.
“Clear and concise communication from Government is absolutely essential as we all continue to deal with the effects of the pandemic.”