Don't put off your second vaccine dose, says Dr Zoe Williams

IN just 21 days, all remaining lockdown measures are set to lift. But there is some concern the Indian variant might throw us off track.

Cases have doubled in the past week and the harrowing images we have seen in recent months from India have been worrying.

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But while we know this variant is more contagious, those photos don’t mean it is more deadly or more likely to evade vaccines.

They show a country with a healthcare system that is struggling, in ways we thankfully have not seen in our NHS.

The biggest weapon we have in our arsenal right now is the incredibly successful vaccine rollout.

Last week, figures from Public Health England showed that just three per cent of people who got infected with the Indian variant were fully vaccinated. On the flipside, that means 97 per cent of cases are people who have had just one jab, or none at all.

That is hugely encouraging. It suggests the jab is protecting against this new strain. And it serves as an important reminder to us all.

If you have had your first dose and are waiting for the second, don’t put it off – and if you’ve just had your call-up, don’t hesitate to book an appointment. The sooner we are all fully vaccinated the better.

We’ve come this far

With social freedom so close, it is worth reiterating the important message to take it at your own pace.

A recent survey from Sainsbury’s found 71 per cent of people have anxieties about lockdown easing.

Just because you can hug your gran now doesn’t mean you should be showering strangers in the pub with affection. And if you’d rather stick to social catch-ups outside, do so.

Just because you can hug your gran now doesn’t mean you should be showering strangers in the pub with affection.

I am really hopeful that the roadmap will go ahead as planned and we can see our lives return to normal – though it will be a new normal.

It is likely we will still be wearing face coverings for some time, as the fact is they help stop the spread.

Likewise, we will still be washing our hands. And it’s likely that when you are travelling on a bus or train, you will want to carry on social distancing. As the measures we’ve become so accustomed to are relaxed, people may still find life scary.

If you suffer from hay fever or a cold and have a cough, you might feel socially awkward and have anxieties around being out in public. It’s likely to happen to us all at some point.

Life will feel different after a year and a bit of living like this. We can’t expect anything less.

But we’ve come this far and we can get through the next step of easing restrictions if we all recognise we need to take it at our own pace.

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