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COVID-19 Information and Advice

COVID-19 Information and advice

COVID-19 Update

Plan B continues until next week

Although the government has announced guidelines will change next Thursday 27 January, we all still need to continue to wear face coverings on public transport, in shops and most indoor public places until then.

A reminder of the mandatory rules that still apply until next Thursday is here.

Vaccinations for all

Teenagers aged 16 to 17 years old and children aged 12 to 15 years old (with a parent or guardian present) can now walk-in to get their jab at the vaccination centre in St Nicholas Shopping Centre, seven days a week. Appointments can also be booked online.

For details of opening times check the vaccinations page on the South West London NHS website. 

Confused about testing and self isolation rules?

With things moving so fast it can be difficult to keep track of the changes. Here’s a short guide on what you need to do:

  • One in three people with the COVID-19 virus have no symptoms so it’s really important to test regularly at home using a Lateral Flow Test (LFT) that you can pick up for free at all the libraries and most pharmacies in Sutton
  • If you get a positive LFT result you must start to self isolate that day. You no longer need to apply for a PCR test to confirm the LFT result, unless you will be applying for the NHS Test & Trace self isolation support payment in which case you will need a PCR test to apply
  • Your self isolation period includes the day your positive test was taken plus the next ten full days. However, you can end self isolation after five full days if you have negative LFT results on two consecutive days
  • The day of your first positive LFT test counts as day zero. You don’t need to test again until your fifth day of self isolation. So, if your LFT test is positive on Monday (day 0), wait until Saturday (day 5) to do the test again
  • If the LFT test is negative on day five, and is negative again the next morning (day 6) then you’re good to go! You can stop isolating that day

But there might be a small chance that you could still pass the virus to someone else for another few days so - if you can - you should avoid crowded places and mixing with people you don’t live with until day ten.

But if your test is positive on day six you must continue to self isolate, even if it was negative on day five. This page on the government website explains all the current guidelines on self isolation and testing in detail. 

St Nicholas vaccination centre has reopened

The St Nicholas Vaccination Centre in Sutton will reopen for booked appointments and walk‑ins for 1st, 2nd and booster Covid-19 vaccinations from 12pm, on Tuesday 18 January 2022.

The Centre has been closed since 24 December 2021 December for essential maintenance works.

Clinic times for the Centre from 18 January 2022 are available on the NHS South West London CCG website. Appointments can be booked on the NHS website.

The Thomas Wall Centre will close for vaccinations at 3pm on Monday 17 January 2022.

Vaccines are the best way to protect people against COVID-19 and data from the UK Health Security Agency shows a booster vaccine tops-up protection against symptomatic infection from the Omicron variant to around 70%. 

If you have yet to get your first or second dose or booster, it is not too late – vaccines reduce your risk of hospitalisation and death. Join the national effort and get the protection you need now. 

If you are unsure about having your vaccine, pop into for a chat. Centre staff are happy to answer any questions you may have and there’s no pressure on you.

Changes to self isolation rules

Positive lateral flow tests

From Tuesday 11 January, most people who get a positive lateral flow device (LFD) test result and who do not have any COVID-19 symptoms will no longer need to get a follow-up PCR test to confirm the result. 

Anyone who receives a positive LFD test should report their result on GOV.UK and must self-isolate immediately, but will no longer need to take a follow-up PCR test.

After reporting a positive LFD test result, they will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace so that their contacts can be traced.

Exemptions to this revised guidance includes people who are:

  • Eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment (TTSP) and need to take a confirmatory PCR to access financial support

  • Participating in research or surveillance programmes

  • At particular risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 and have been identified by the NHS as being potentially eligible for new treatments

People with COVID-19 symptoms still need to get a PCR test and must start to self isolate from the day the symptoms start.

To check how long you need to self isolate after a positive LFD or PCR test, see the current NHS guidance on how to self isolate.

Travel test changes for travellers to England

Passengers returning to England from abroad who are fully vaccinated, or aged under 18, will no longer need to take a pre-departure COVID-19 test if they arrive after 4am on Friday 7 January. 

The requirement to take a PCR test has also been relaxed for arrivals in England after 4am on Sunday 9 January. Travellers will only need to take a lateral flow test on or before day two but if it is positive must take a follow-up PCR test.

Read the current government guidance on travelling to England from another country.

COVID-19 vaccine

People aged 16 and over

You can get a 1st and 2nd dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if you're aged 16 or over.

You can book appointments at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy now, or wait to be invited to go to a local NHS service.

Book your COVID-19 vaccination appointments

Children aged 12 to 15

All children aged 12 to 15 will be offered a 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (including children who turn 12 on the date of vaccination).

Most children can:

  • get their vaccine at school

  • book their vaccination appointment online for an appointment at a vaccination centre or pharmacy

  • check if there is a walk-in vaccination site near them to get vaccinated without needing an appointment

Find out more about the COVID-19 vaccine for children aged 12 to 15.

Children at high risk from COVID-19

Some children aged 12 to 15 are being offered 2 doses of the vaccine if either:

  • they live with someone who is more likely to get infections (such as someone who has HIV, has had a transplant or is having certain treatments for cancer, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis)

  • they have a condition that means they're at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19

Conditions that mean they may be at high risk and eligible for 2 doses are:

  • a severe problem with the brain or nerves, such as cerebral palsy

  • Down's syndrome

  • severe or multiple learning disabilities (or they're on the learning disability register)

  • a condition that means they're more likely to get infections (such as some genetic conditions or types of cancer)

Those who are eligible for 2 doses of the vaccine will be contacted by a local NHS service such as a GP surgery to arrange their appointments.

COVID-19 booster slots available for over 18s

The National Booking Service is now open to everyone aged 18 and over who had their second dose three months ago or more - book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination 

Walk-in centres

The South West London CCG are encouraging people to book an appointment to guarantee their vital vaccination/booster to help manage long queues forming at many of their walk-in clinics. 

Information about walk in clinics is updated on the South West London CCG website regularly - visit Walk-in and pop up vaccination clinics

If you are visiting a walk-in centre, you are likely to queue for longer as sites are very busy - please be patient and kind to staff who are working hard to vaccinate everybody!

Please remember to wear a mask or face covering and adhere to guidelines when you visit a vaccination clinic.

Not vaccinated yet?

If you have not yet taken up the offer of the vaccine, it is never too late to get your first or second dose. COVID-19 vaccinations are safe and effective and give us the best protection against the serious complications of COVID-19.

Testing

To book a PCR Test please visit - https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test

To order an LFT Test please visit - https://www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests 

Please note that from 30 December 2021 rapid lateral flow tests will be available from the reception/front desks of the following Council buildings.

  • Sutton Council Civic Offices, Civic Offices, St Nicholas Way, Sutton SM1 1EA

  • Sutton Central Library, Cheam Library, Circle Library, The Library at Westcroft, Wallington Library, The Library at Sutton Life Centre, The Library at the Phoenix Centre and Worcester Park Library. Addresses and opening times can be found here.

‘Plan B’ measures

The government's Plan B COVID-19 measures 

From Friday 10 December:

  • Face coverings became compulsory in most public indoor venues, such as cinemas, theatres and places of worship

  • There will be exemptions in venues where it is not practical to wear one, such as when you are eating, drinking or exercising. For that reason, face masks will not be required in hospitality settings

  • Wear a face covering in shops and on public transport

  • Face coverings should be worn in communal areas of universities, colleges and schools by staff, visitors and pupils or students in year 7 and above

From Monday 13 December:

  • Work from home if you can

From Wednesday 15 December:

  • NHS COVID Pass now mandatory in specific settings, using a negative test or full vaccination via the NHS Covid Pass

If you’re a contact of someone who may have been infected with the Omicron variant, you must self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of your age, vaccination status or any negative test results.

Read the full list of Plan B measures, including for travel overseas.

Get a PCR test if you have symptoms

If you have any of these three coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, even if mild, use this service to get a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test as soon as possible:

  • A high temperature

  • A new, continuous cough

  • You’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or they’ve changed

You can order a PCR test kit to be sent to your home or book an appointment at a walk-in or drive-through test site. Find out how to get both.

Get your flu vaccination

As well as reveiving your COVID-19 booster, it is important to also receive your flu vaccine, if you are eligible. More people are likely to get flu this winter, and if you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time, you are more likely to become seriously unwell. 

Getting vaccinated will protect you and those around you from both of these serious illnesses. Read more about eligibility, where you can receive your flu vaccine and how to book online, on the NHS website

PCR site closure

Please note that from 5 December 2021 the site based at the Phoenix Centre closed permanently.

Residents with COVID-19 symptoms can still book a PCR test at the following locations:

  • Sutton Civic Centre car park

  • David Weir Leisure Centre car park

  • Denmark road, Carshalton

  • Overton Park, Sutton

Book a test by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119. 

With infection rates in the borough high and rising, help Keep Sutton Safe this winter. You can find out more here.

Information for 16-17 year olds

From Monday 22 November, if you are aged 16 to 17 years, and are not in a high risk group, you can now have a second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. You should wait 12 weeks after your first COVID-19 vaccine or 12 weeks following a positive test showing COVID-19 infection, whichever is sooner. Find your nearest vaccination centre here.

Watch the COVID-19 schools vaccination Q&A 

On Wednesday 10 November we held a webinar for parents with children aged 12 to 15 on the rollout of the COVID-19 schools vaccination programme in partnership with NHS South West London CCG.

An expert panel from Sutton Council and NHS South West London CCG, in partnership with Hounslow and Richmond Community Trust (providers of the School Immunisation team for Sutton), were on hand with information and to answer questions. If you missed the event, you can view the recording here.

All children aged 12 to 15 are being offered one dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine through their schools. The roll out, with support from school nurses, GPs and pharmacists, is being carried out in the same way as children receive other routine vaccinations at school. This vaccination programme aims to protect young people from COVID-19, reduce outbreaks that occur in school and protect friends and family against the virus.

Children aged 12-15 can also now get their vaccination at the walk-in clinic at St Nicholas Shopping Centre. For more information on times, please visit the CCG website

Vaccinations for people aged 16 and over

For people aged 16 and over, you can find the latest South West London walk-in vaccination clinics on the South West London CCG website.

Following guidance from the JCVI the NHS in South West London will deliver a COVID-19 booster programme in addition to the annual flu programme. The COVID-19 booster is being offered to patients in the following groups;

  • Older adults living in residential homes

  • Front-line healthcare and social care workers

  • All adults aged 40 and over

  • All those aged 16 to 49 with underlying health conditions

  • Adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

The flu vaccine is now available at some pharmacies across South West London. More information is available on the South West London CCG website.  


Support for long COVID

Many people recovering from COVID-19 are still coming to terms with the impact the virus has had on both their body and mind and are still trying to shake off the effects of the virus. The symptoms are wide-ranging and fluctuating, and can include breathlessness, chronic fatigue, “brain fog”, anxiety and stress. The NHS in South West London has create a web page to share self-help resources and links to local service that are available to people who are experiencing long COVID (which you may also hear referred to as post COVID): https://www.swlondon.nhs.uk/ourwork/long-covid-recovery/.

You can share your experiences of long COVID with Healthwatch via the links at the bottom of the web page, to help improve the support and services that are available.

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Latest COVID-19 Guidance

See the government website on the latest advice to stay safe and help prevent the spread of the virus. 

Useful information 

How to book your vaccine. 

Information and guidance from the government about its response to the virus.

Information and advice from the NHS on symptoms, how to avoid the spread of the virus and what to do if you need medical help. 

How to book a free coronavirus test in Sutton if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. 

How to get a free Rapid test (LFT test) in Sutton if you do not have symptoms. 

Information and advice on self-isolation and social distancing from Public Health England. 

International travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. 

Please also see the Council's GDPR and Data Sharing Policy