Last Saturday I visited Angmering Medical Centre to speak with medical staff and volunteers helping with the vaccine rollout. Similar to others that I have visited, it was a very professional operation and I was impressed at the efficiency with which they were getting the life-saving jabs into arms.
Nationally, we have now vaccinated over 7.3 million people and reached three quarters of those who are over 80 years of age. Last week NHS England vaccinated 140 people every minute and we have now vaccinated nearly four times the number of people per capita than any other country in Europe. In the last three days, Britain has vaccinated more people than France has in its entire programme.
The number of vaccination sites across the UK is now over 2,700 – including hospitals, GPs and community halls etc. A large-scale vaccination site opened at the Brighton Centre on Monday to provide additional capacity for Sussex.
National success is being replicated locally. As of 21st January, across Sussex and East Surrey over 125,000 doses had been administered. I am maintaining a page on my website – www.andrewgriffithmp.com - to provide the latest information from your local GP or vaccination hub as well as local data.
Further restrictions on travel and tighter quarantine are terribly difficult news for aviation – a big local source of employment. I have joined parliamentary colleagues in calling for the Government to introduce a comprehensive Aviation, Travel and Tourism Recovery Package that will provide immediate financial and additional support to the aviation sector.
West Sussex is home to many workers who support Gatwick Airport, including aircrew, caterers, engineers, taxi drivers and travel agents. There are also many small firms extending all the way into the hospitality industry whom the shut -down has impacted. It is important that their industry is supported through this crisis – which is after all not of their own making. I will work in Westminster and with other bodies in West Sussex to do all that I can to help all of those affected.
While the suspension of travel corridors may sadly have been necessary to protect the UK from the spread of new Covid variants, it is also vital that a clear pathway is outlined to allow aviation to come out of these restrictions as soon as it is safe to do so.