The greatest gifts we can give our loved ones this festive period are vaccinations, taking tests, fresh air and face coverings.
This life-saving wish list will help ensure families and friends enjoy the safest of season’s greetings.
We’re encouraged to make these ongoing health measures as much a part of the holiday as mulled wine and mince pies. Such steps can help protect our nearest and dearest while we’re together.
The gift of protecting one another from COVID-19 – including the Omicron variant – is the one that truly keeps on giving.
The weather outside may be “frightful” but, gathering indoors, we can still open windows to allow fresh air to disperse the virus. Embrace face coverings, there are seasonal styles aplenty to add festive flair to commuting and high street shopping trips.
Every adult in the country needs to get a COVID-19 booster vaccine, because two doses does not give you enough protection against catching Omicron.
Get your booster now at nhs.uk/covidvaccination.
Get Boosted Now is the national mission to build a wall of defence against the new Omicron variant. This mission is more urgent and more important than ever before because Omicron COVID-19 is spreading fast. Vaccines are the best way we can protect ourselves.
You can get a COVID-19 booster 12 weeks after your second dose. Boosters give you the best possible protection against the virus and should significantly reduce your risk of serious illness and hospitalisation.
And, swifter than shaving or applying makeup, taking rapid lateral flow tests are a quick and easy part of your getting ready routine before venturing out.
If you have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 and are double vaccinated, you should take a daily rapid lateral flow test for seven days if you have no symptoms.
This will help slow the spread of the virus and allow you and your loved ones to continue your plans that day if you test negative. If you are unvaccinated, you must continue to self-isolate for 10 days if you are a contact of someone with COVID-19.
Don’t forget the NHS COVID-19 app is still the fastest way to know if you’ve been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, so keep it on.
A very merry Christmas and a happy New Year, celebrate safely and let’s make it a good one.
‘It’s vital to ventilate’
Leeds University Professor of Environmental Engineering Catherine Noakes, pictured, said:
“As Christmas is coming people will naturally be spending more time indoors – welcoming friends and family into their home and attending social events together – as the weather gets colder.
While we are all looking forward to spending time with friends and family this Christmas, it’s important to remember that coronavirus is still spreading and can easily transmit in the home even when people are vaccinated.
“In an enclosed space, the infectious particles hang around in the air like smoke and can build up over time, increasing the risk of other people in the room breathing in the virus, especially if there is no ventilation or fresh air helping to refresh the air.
“That’s why it’s so important to ventilate indoor spaces by opening windows, even if just regularly for a short time. This way fresh air can disperse and blow COVID-19 particles away to decrease the risk of others being infected.”
All adults now need to get a booster vaccine, as two doses do not offer enough protection against the fast spreading Omicron variant.
Boosters are available 12 weeks after second jabs. Get Boosted Now at nhs.uk/covidvaccination to significantly reduce your risk of serious illness and hospitalisation.
Make taking rapid lateral flow tests part of your festive preparations.
Use any unused stocks of rapid lateral flow tests that you may have at home
Collect from your School/University if you already obtain test kits from there
Collect from your local Pharmacy
Collect from your local Community Test sites
Order online at gov.uk
Opening doors and windows for ten minutes can help you and your loved ones stay safe.
To protect yourself and others, face coverings must be worn in shops, indoor venues and on public transport.
A full list of where it is required to wear a face covering in the UK is available here on gov.uk.
This article is sponsored by the UK Government. For more details on staying safe this Christmas click here.
Support community journalism by making a contribution
The Coventry Observer's team of journalists provide a trusted source of news, sport, entertainment and events going on in your area and issues which matter to you - both via our free weekly print edition and daily updates on our website.
Every contribution, however big or small, you can make will help us continue to do that now and in the future.
Thanks for reading this and the Coventry Observer.