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Make vaccination message clearer says local leader



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A leading Fenland councillor is calling for clearer messaging around the effectiveness of the Covid vaccine in protecting people from severe illness and death in a bid to encourage more to take the jab.

Councillor Chris Boden, leader of Fenland Council and portfolio holder for public health at the Combined Authority, wants to see billboards and posters carrying messages similar to those used in America.

The move comes as rising infection rates across the county including Fenland has led to Cambridgeshire and Peterborough being given Enhanced Response Area status in a bid to tackle the increase in Covid-19 cases particularly among older people.

Councillor Chris Boden wants to see posters like this one produced by the CDC in America to help get the message across about the benefits of vaccination. (52777146)
Councillor Chris Boden wants to see posters like this one produced by the CDC in America to help get the message across about the benefits of vaccination. (52777146)

That status means additional resources to curb the spiralling Covid cases and that includes accelerating booster jabs for those who are eligible, speeding up the roll-out of vaccinations for 12 to 15 year-olds , and encouraging those who have not been vaccinated to come forward and have it.

Coun Boden believes clearer messaging about the efficacy of the vaccination including having both jabs, would help in the drive to get more people fully vaccinated and believes currently authorities are failing to get the message across well enough.

In an open letter to Jyoti Atri, director for health for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, Coun Boden, who is also opposition spokesperson for Cambridgeshire's adults and health committee, said: "I fully recognise that there are many people who are unable for medical reasons to receive the Covid-19 vaccine, and there are others who for various reasons choose not to do so.

Councillor Chris Boden. (52797581)
Councillor Chris Boden. (52797581)

"However, I feel that we in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and nationally, are failing sufficiently to get the message across to the public about the efficacy of vaccination in preventing infection, hospitalisation and death."

He wants to see similar posters produced to those published last month in America by the US Centre for Disease Control (CDC).

The posters, which were put on billboards across the States, showed analysis of the benefits of the vaccination in simplistic diagrams making it easy to see that someone who was fully vaccinated in the US was five times less likely to become infected, and up to 10 times less likely to be hospitalised or to die than those who were unvaccinated.

Roll-out of the Covid booster jab will be accelerated to those eligible as part of the ERA status measures.
Roll-out of the Covid booster jab will be accelerated to those eligible as part of the ERA status measures.

Coun Boden said: "I would suggest that a similar clear and well-publicised simple statistical messaging campaign for Cambridgeshire, or for England, or for the UK, would be exceptionally helpful in bringing home to people the efficacy of vaccination and the level of danger in remaining unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated.

"I strongly urge you, either for Cambridgeshire or, with the assistance, at a wider level, to publish authoritative, clear and verifiable data in as simplified a form as possible to emphasise, as the CDC did, that 'vaccination offers strong protection against Covid-19'."

Coun Boden told the Citizen: "We need a more powerful campaign so people can clearly see why they should have the vaccine. Giving percentages like it is 89 per cent effective, does not mean much to people, but telling them they are 10 times less likely to die does, it's as simple as that."

Part of the ERA Status for Cambridgeshire will be the acceleration of the vaccination programme for 12 to 15-year-olds.
Part of the ERA Status for Cambridgeshire will be the acceleration of the vaccination programme for 12 to 15-year-olds.

The move could well aid in the fight to cut infection rates across the county, which in some areas are higher now than at the worst peak in January.

Being given ERA status from Monday (1) means extra resources from the Government to help with the situation.

In the meantime people are being urged to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed areas, to meet with others outside their households in well ventilated spaces and to wash hands regularly.

Regular lateral flow testing is also being encouraged for all.

Ms Atri said: “A rising rate of infections particularly in our older population meant I had to make this ERA application now.

“If we all do more now - together we can reduce pressure before worst effects of winter really begin.”



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