Vaccines alone will not beat covid-19, warns Jonathan Gribbin, director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire County Council
Expecting vaccines to deliver a route out of lockdown on their own is unrealistic, according to Nottinghamshire's public health expert Jonathan Gribbin.
Mr Gribbin, director of Public Health for Nottinghamshire County Council, issued the warning in this morning's weekly covid briefing as he addressed the government's plans to lift the last of the UK's lockdown restrictions.
Mr Gribbin said: "Although the vaccine programme has been enormously effective, expecting vaccines on their own to deliver everything we need to live safely and confidently with covid-19 is unrealistic.
"What we will need for the coming months is a combination of measures.
"I would like to reemphasise the benefit of a measure as simple as frequent hand washing — it is such a basic thing and not only can it protect us from covid-19, but [it can also protect us from] becoming a link in the chain. It protects us from a number of other infections too.
"In all likelihood, we may need to continue with some form of social distancing in some settings, and I don't think we should expect to be doing away with arrangements to isolate if we get symptoms of covid."
Mr Gribbin was also asked whether he felt it would be right to abandon the final set of covid-19 restrictions on June 21. He said speculation would not help the situation the government faces, with a decision expected to be made on Monday, June 14.
"In Nottinghamshire county we have seen over 200 cases in the last week, and that equates to a headline rate of 25.6 per 100,000," said Mr Gribbin.
"It (25.6) is much lower than what we saw months ago, but it is considerably higher than the 15 per 100,000 we reported a week ago.
"In fact, we have seen steep rises in many of our districts."
Rushcliffe saw a four-fold increase to 40.3, while Newark and Sherwood currently stands at 44.3 — one of the highest in the county.
"Across all of the districts and boroughs we will see increases in the coming days," warned Mr Gribbin.
"We are seeing cases among young people of secondary school age and adults under 40.
"It is true to say the link between covid-19 and hospitalisation has been weakened, but these rates are rising steeply.
"Many of these cases are in age groups who are yet to be vaccinated."
To combat the rise, Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottingham City Council have launched a 'walk-in weekend' for those aged 25 and over who haven't yet had their first jab.
Forest Recreation Ground Vaccine Centre in Nottingham and Mansfield Vaccination Centre will be open from 8am to 6pm on Saturday and Sunday for those who are eligible.