A word from Dr Greg White, Cromwell Family Practice GP

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Responsibility lies with us

January felt like we were sleepwalking into the next wave and third year of the pandemic.

Not much happened over Christmas, and the entire health sector is now scrambling to get ahead of the Omicron wave.

The basic messaging has changed little, but there is a little more divergence of expert opinion.

All agree vaccines remain the priority.

There is some variance in advice regarding masks.

The basic advice is for everyone to wear a surgical mask at least, when with people outside your household. Expert advice is we should be wearing N95 masks at all times now, however Dr Bloomfield feels this will lead to waste, and that the public can’t be trusted with them.

I would urge everyone to wear N95s if you can get them.

Widespread N95 masking may possibly eliminate Omicron, but we will probably never know.

Children going back to school will struggle to wear a mask all day, however N95s are quite comfortable for older ones.

They can be washed up to five times, and several cycled over the course of at least several days.

Children are unlikely to get very sick with Omicron, however they will bring it home like most germs, and households are then facing 14 to 30 days of isolation, meaning loss of work and income for families.

So there are social as well as medical reasons for getting children vaccinated.

It is only a 1/3 dose and is very safe, it has some mild side effects, and a very low risk of myocarditis, though much less than in adults.

Parents only need give verbal consent.

There are few places in Central vaccinating children, except GP clinics – try ringing your usual provider. Young adults will also be spreading their wings to polytech and university, communal living in hostels means we advise young adults to get both meningitis B and ACWY vaccines.

My final passion piece is regarding rapid antigen tests, until now a foreign word most have not yet come to appreciate.

Hopefully, we can all get our hands on them, this will allow exposed people to continue to work instead of isolate, go to school, travel and attend events.

Again Dr B has commandeered the national supply, so who knows when we will see any.

Despite this attempted ongoing centralisation of control, we should now be mentally preparing to be responsible for ourselves and our families regarding Covid-19 mitigation, as we finally approach The End.