There are divided opinions whether 19th July, “Freedom Day”, as the Prime Minister refers to it, means freedom from needing to worry about Covid or freedom to infect whoever you like. What is clear is that it does mean the government will be free from telling everyone what they should be doing and therefore free from blame when they do stupid, harmful things. The government has made it clear that individual companies are now responsible for implementing whatever measures they feel are appropriate.
Whitley Bay Osteopathic Centre is an indoor healthcare setting in which practitioners and patients are in close contact for 30-60 minutes at a time. By far the most important risk mediation measure available to us is the wearing of masks – by everyone on the premises. This cuts down the risk at source (the mouth and nose), reducing substantially the amount of virus-laden aerosol in the atmosphere within the practice.
You can still get infected with Covid when you are fully vaccinated: after 2 doses the Pfizer vaccine gives 79% protection against being infected with the Delta variant, the Astra Zeneca gives 60% protection. Each of those figures is an average of the reduction in risk: some people will have a higher than average risk to start with (and others lower than average) and there is no way of telling where on that spread of starting risk you are. Equally, the 79% or 60% reduction in risk is an average and most people will be on one or other side of that average reduction: your personal risk may be reduced by more or less than the average: if you had the Astra Zeneca vaccine your remaining risk of infection may be more or less than 40% of your initial risk. This means there is a wide range of remaining risk and there is no way of knowing where on that range you are.
In any case, there is a significant risk of being infected even if you have been fully vaccinated, and if you are infected then you may be infectious. The risk of being seriously ill (hospital/ICU) is much less. After 2 doses the Pfizer vaccine gives an average of 96% protection and the Astra Zeneca 92%. Scientists think the reduction in the risk of dying is much the same.
Despite those high average figures, Public Health England figures show that a fully vaccinated 60 year old still has a higher risk of dying from Covid than an unvaccinated 30 year old, due to the sharply increasing risk with age. See our blog about the risk to the over-50s here. A fairly high proportion of our patients are over 50 and many of our patients have underlying health conditions that make them more vulnerable to Covid and so their risk will be higher than the average. We have a duty of care to our patients and staff and we shall therefore continue with all our Covid measures for the foreseeable future.
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