The latest Community Information Champion Update – 1st December 2021

From 30 November 2021, face coverings became mandatory again on public transport, shops and offices in England in an effort to help slow the spread of the new Omicron variant of coronavirus.

Children aged 11+ using dedicated home to school or college transport or public transport must also wear a face-covering (unless exempt).

To help you to understand how to wear them and dispose of them correctly, visit the national guidance here


Travel Restriction: Red List Countries

The discovery of a new COVID variant which has been identified in South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe and Namibia, has led the UK government to restrict travel to and from these locations. As of 4am on Sunday 28th November, passengers arriving in England from these countries are required to quarantine in a managed hotel, and take 2 COVID-19 tests.

You must do this even if you are fully vaccinated.

These precautionary measures have been taken while the new variant is investigated.

Further guidance on traveling from a red list country can be found at: Red list of countries and territories – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The governments list of approved test providers can be found here.


Guidance on COVID-19 Booster vaccinations is changing

The NHS is working on plans to offer a booster dose to everyone aged 18 years old and over and people aged 16 years old and over with a severely weakened immune system.

They are also planning to make booster doses available from 3 months after the previous dose (changing from 6 months after the previous dose) and a 2nd dose available to all children aged 12 to 15 years old who are not already eligible. The latest updates to this information can be found via the National Booking Service: Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination – NHS (www.nhs.uk).


Who can get a COVID-19 booster vaccine

People aged 40 and over

This includes:

  • people who live and work in care homes
  • frontline health and social care workers
  • people aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts them at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
  • people aged 16 and over who are a main carer for someone at high risk from COVID-19
  • people aged 16 and over who live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)

People who are pregnant and in 1 of the eligible groups can also get a booster dose.


Free home testing kits now available in libraries

Hertfordshire libraries have become the latest place where you can now pick up a rapid testing kit. Nine libraries across Hertfordshire will act as collection points to help you stay safe and well this winter.

Locations include Baldock, Bishop’s Stortford, Hatfield, Hemel Hempstead, Hoddesdon, Oxhey, Rickmansworth, Stevenage and Watford, with collection points open during normal library opening hours. Simply ask a staff member. More information is available here.

 If you have symptoms, please stay home and book a PCR test online.

Booster vaccination data updated 18 November 2021
Source: National Immunisation Management Service (NIMS) 

Walk-in Vaccination Clinics Hatfield, Stevenage & Letchworth

Please visit A Healthier Future for an up to date list of dates, times and location in Hertfordshire offering COVID-19 vaccinations.

Have you booked your flu jab yet?

This winter, with a possible surge in flu cases and COVID-19 circulating at the same time, it is more important than ever that we boost our immunity and protect our loved ones by getting ourselves and our children vaccinated.

The flu vaccine is safe, quick and effective and is offered free of charge by the NHS to those who need it most, including all children aged 2-15, pregnant women, older people, those with long-term health conditions and carers. Visit www.nhs.uk/fluvaccine to find out if you are eligible and book your appointment as soon as possible at a local pharmacy or with your GP. Those who are pregnant can ask for it at their local maternity service.

Colder weather favours transmission and darker nights mean increased social contact indoors – together with an expected lower immunity to flu this year due to lower levels in circulation last winter, we could be in for a difficult flu season.  Protect your family by making sure you have all had your vaccine.

Other notices

The £20 per week temporary “covid increase” in Universal Credit (equivalent to £86.67 per calendar month) which began in April 2020 has been withdrawn.

Hertshelp will be able to help people navigate any impact they may experience relating to the withdrawal of the increase (i.e. signposting to Foodbanks, crisis support or other community support www.hertshelp.net/hertshelp.aspx or by calling/emailing Call us on 0300 123 4044 or email info@hertshelp.net

You can check benefit entitlement on  a free benefit calculator on www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/money and also get information about carers allowance, personal independence payment, attendance allowance and other benefits”

Other useful links

This information has been provided by Public Health Hertfordshire. If you would like to make any comments on the the Information Champion Update please give your feedback below.

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