Message from West Sussex Director of Public Health, Alison Challenger

Covid-19 restrictions in England are easing, reflecting the ways in which we’re learning to live with the virus and helping to keep West Sussex safe.

The government announced that legal requirements to comply with restrictions end on Thursday 24 February.

However, the pandemic isn’t over yet, and in line with the national advice there are many simple and easy things we can all choose to do to protect ourselves and each other including the most vulnerable people in our communities:

  • get vaccinated
  • let fresh air in if meeting indoors, or meet outside
  • wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, especially where you come into contact with people you do not usually meet, when rates of transmission are high
  • try to stay at home if you are unwell
  • take a test if you have Covid-19 symptoms, stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you test positive
  • wash your hands and follow advice to ‘Catch it, Bin it, Kill it’

Thank you to everyone who’s played their part throughout the pandemic, taken up the offer of a vaccination, and incorporated the health protection measures so they’re now part of our normal daily lives. You’ve not only helped to prevent the spread of Covid-19, but also other infectious diseases that can be just as impactful.

Though case rates remain high in West Sussex, the success of the vaccination rollout has reduced the health risks associated with developing Covid-19. In the seven days to Friday 18 February, 6,136 new cases were reported, and although we see our figures reducing, our rates remain higher than those of England and the South East.

The pandemic is ongoing, but we have made excellent progress and I hope we can continue that as we move into the next phase of adapting to the virus and managing the risks through our day-to-day lives.

Vaccinations are our best defence

Taking up the offer of the Covid-19 vaccinations, whether it’s your first, second, or booster dose, is our best defence against the virus.

Covid-19 boosters are now available for children aged 5-11 who are at risk, and anyone aged 12 and above. 12 to 15-year-olds can have two doses, and anyone aged 16 and over can have two main doses and a booster.

You can of course still take up the offer of a first and second doses of the vaccination.

You can drop in to one of the many walk-in vaccination sessions across West Sussex, book an appointment in advance via the national booking system or by calling 119.

If needed, you can book free travel to and from your Covid-19 vaccination appointment by calling Sussex Health & Care Partnership on 01444 275008.

Supporting healthy communities

The last two years have been unquestionably tough on us all, but together as a community we’ve done a tremendous job of rising to the challenges of the pandemic.

I am aware of the impact that lockdowns in particular have had on our health and wellbeing, and I encourage everyone to make use of the resources and services that are available.

Whether you’re looking for ideas and support for a healthy mind or body, advice and guidance to stop smoking, or reduce your alcohol intake, the West Sussex Wellbeing Website has plenty of information to help.

Alison Challenger

West Sussex Director of Public Health