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September 14, 2021
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Statement: Response to the publication of the Government’s Autumn and Winter Covid Plan

Jim McManus, Vice President, Association of Directors of Public Health said:

There are reasons to be cautiously optimistic that the worst of the pandemic is behind us. However, there will be significant challenges to public health over the coming months with COVID-19, the return of seasonal viruses and service backlogs.

The Association of Directors of Public Health support confirmation of a universal vaccination offer for 12-15 year olds, providing another tool to reduce transmission in schools and limit the consequences of missed education, the impact of which has disproportionately fallen on those children living in areas of enduring transmission and from poorer backgrounds. Boosters and a concerted flu vaccination drive will also help protect older and more vulnerable groups. These efforts should be matched with a renewed campaign to vaccinate the millions of people who are yet to take up the offer. Hand washing, face coverings in crowded places, well ventilated settings, working from home where possible, regular testing and then isolating positive cases and robust international travel measures provide valuable layers of defence.

We have said throughout the last 18 months that there is no magic bullet to ending this pandemic. But, taken together, resourced properly and implemented effectively, these actions will continue to make a difference. COVID-19 remains a serious public health threat - maintaining simple measures will give us the best chance of achieving what everyone wants: saving lives and keeping our society, public services and economy open throughout the autumn and winter.

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