As 2020 draws to a close, we’ve been given a dose of good news in what has been a very difficult year. The first clinically approved vaccine has been rolled-out across the country, and here in our county too. Initially, the vaccine will be available at Derriford Hospital in Plymouth to those aged 80 and over as well as care home workers, along with NHS workers who are at higher risk.
Derriford was chosen as one of the first 50 sites in the country as it has the technology and resources to store the vaccine, which must be kept at -70C. I have spoken to NHS leaders in Devon and the vaccine will be available closer to home as soon as possible. The roll-out of the vaccine is the start of a long road to recovery but we can’t let our guard down.
We must continue with caution, especially as restrictions are eased over the festive period. Personally, I’ll be testing my new-found Zoom skills (OK, skills might be a stretch!) to catch up with some older members of my family in Devon this Christmas. Although difficult, it feels like the right thing to do and I know many people will be facing the same dilemma.
I’ve written a great deal about supporting local shops across East Devon. However, it isn’t just shops and our hospitality industry that continue to face significant challenges. Every year, we’re used to having many events raising money for charities across East Devon.
We have so many fantastic charities helping to improve and change lives in East Devon. Usually, Members of Parliament send Christmas cards to charities, schools and local groups. Instead, this year I’ve decided to donate the cost of printing and posting to local charities. Sidmouth Hospice at Home, Exmouth Deaf Academy and the WESC Foundation (formerly Exeter Blind School) have all received £100 because every little helps.
We’ve faced much in the last 12 months and we’ll get through this, together. If you need my help, you need only ask and I’ll explore every avenue to assist you.
This column first appeared in the Exmouth Journal on Wednesday 16th December, Sidmouth Herald on Thursday 17th December, and Midweek Herald on Friday 18th December.