Star comment: Without vaccines we would still be in the grip of pandemic

It doesn’t take much to realise the value of Covid-19 vaccines.

The world has become a different place since the wider population developed widespread immunity. While it was briefly necessary to live cottoned, safe in our bubbles, now we are able to mix and socialise as we did before the pandemic. Much of that is down to the development of vaccines, which significantly reduced global death rates and helped to save countless lives right here in our region.

Yet the confidence in vaccines has declined significantly since the start of the pandemic, to some degree because of the absurd conspiracy theories that do the rounds online.

Researchers from the University of Portsmouth carried out two anonymous surveys in the winters of 2019 and 2022 to gauge people’s attitudes to vaccinations and to look at what factors cause hesitancy and refusal.

After questioning more than 1,000 adults, they found that the post-pandemic group was considerably less confident in vaccines than in the pre-pandemic group.

Meanwhile, we are on the cusp of another winter in which flu and Covid are likely to again put pressure on the NHS – and that means getting jabs where available is absolutely vital.

The situation may be made worst by the fact that people are battening down the hatches to keep warm, restricting airflow and allowing germs to spread more easily.

The overall message is that, without vaccines, we would still be in the grip of a Covid pandemic. With vaccines, we are able to live life again.We can all make a difference, both to our lives and to those of others, by getting our winter jabs.

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Well done Ellie Simmonds.

The inspirational British swimmer has shown through her life what will and determination can bring and she has truly been a credit to herself on Strictly Come Dancing.

She was unlucky to be voted out, but the outpouring of goodwill towards her from Star readers shows just how loved she is. No wonder her family are so proud of her. She is truly an inspiration to us all.

Having started her journey in the West Midlands, she conquered the swimming pool as she set world records and secured Paralympic Gold.

She has proved an inspiration not only for those with achondroplasia, but also to a wider community that simply wants to be the best it can be.

Fiercely determined, gracious and personable; Ellie is the best of our region and shows what can be achieved.

She is a remarkable woman.

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