During these times of uncertainty brought on by the coronavirus, those in the electrical trade may find not only their business and work being negatively impacted, but also their mental health. The Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) is keen to outline what support it can provide to industry members. Please read on for our 12th November update.
We understand this is a complex and difficult time for everyone. We are living in a time of great uncertainty and increasing worry about our health and livelihoods. We understand that the effect of COVID-19 on industry and income will be great and we will all be affected. In times of darkness and insecurity we want to let our Industry members know, that we will be here to help you.
Few have taken leave during this disrupted year, it is important you understand your organisations leave policy, here is information to consider - https://www.rsvplive.ie/news/irish-news/irish-employment-law-expert-explains-22980849
For students returning home, here are tips on how to keep yourself and family members safe - https://www.gov.scot/news/helping-students-home-safely-at-end-of-term/
Scotland only - Find out the COVID protection level (tier) for each local area and get information on what you can and cannot do at each level.
How will a coronavirus vaccine be rolled out to the UK population?
The NHS is ramping up to deliver the most important vaccination programme for decades, a mammoth task that is aimed at protecting tens of millions of people against coronavirus. But with several vaccines potentially on the verge of being approved by regulators, how will the UK manage the rollout?
Who is first in line for vaccination?
The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation (JCVI) advise government on vaccination policy. Its interim recommendations are to prioritise older adults in care homes and care workers, followed by all those aged 80 and over, and health and social care workers. Next in line are the over-75s, then the over-70s, and so on down the age groups, as more vaccine shots become available.
Can people take more than one Covid vaccine?
The interim results from Pfizer this week suggest that its two-shot vaccine, developed with the German firm BioNTech, is 90% effective. The figure is based on 94 Covid cases across both vaccinated and placebo arms of the trial. More data is needed to confirm this level of protection and that is expected within weeks when Pfizer runs another analysis based on 164 infected trial volunteers. If the vaccine is proven to achieve such a high level of protection, there is no reason why someone would need a different, additional vaccine on top.
However, whether people can safely have different Covid vaccines is an important question for scientists to answer. It has not been looked at yet, because the immediate priority is to find individual vaccines that are safe and effective on their own. If they can safely be used in combination, it could make rollout easier, because it wouldn’t matter which vaccine is given as the first or second shot.
Although the multiple vaccines in development are based on a number of different technologies many, including the frontrunners from Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca, stimulate the immune system to generate T cells and antibodies against the same coronavirus spike protein. If these vaccines produce similar immune reactions and achieve similar levels of protection, they could potentially be used interchangeably.
What do we still need to know about the Pfizer vaccine?
While encouraging, the results so far from Pfizer are preliminary. More safety data is expected soon. Important questions about the vaccine’s efficacy remain too. It is not yet known whether the virus prevents severe infections or just mild ones. Nor is it clear whether the vaccine prevents people from spreading the virus, if it is as effective in older people as well as younger people, and no one knows how long any protection lasts.
When will the rest of the population get a vaccine?
The first task is to immunise as soon as possible all those in the 10 groups identified by the JCVI. Together they comprise an estimated 22 million people. Besides care home residents, they include all health and care staff, the 2.2 million people on the shielding list classed as “extremely clinically vulnerable”, and then everyone aged 50 and over. This is “phase one” of the rollout.
If the vaccine is delayed until early 2021, it will be even later before the general public get the jab. Each of these 22 million people will need two doses, and because the NHS hopes to immunise 1 million people a week, everyone else is unlikely to be able to get a jab until the middle of next year at the earliest. This is “phase two” of the rollout. How long it will be before the general public can get immunised also depends on whether the JCVI, the government and NHS decide to vaccinate under-18s. That is being discussed but no decision has yet been taken.
Further discussions are afoot on how else people may be prioritised, and there could be different priority groups for different vaccines. This is similar to what is seen with influenza vaccines, where older and more vulnerable adults get a killed virus vaccine while younger people get a live, weakened virus vaccine.
Looking for work?
With so many redundancies and so many looking for new jobs – here’s a great article for help in that job search.
- The charity will consider providing small grants in immediate and urgent need.
- Provide advice to industry individuals regarding financial relief strategies and support services available to them.
- Provide support to employees worried about income, having to work and/or losing their employment.
- Strategies to implement immediately to soften the financial burden i.e. mortgage/rent holiday’s, freezing of gym memberships and others.
- Signposting to other welfare services and charities for support.
- Review of individual welfare benefits, your eligibility and support with the application process were necessary.
- Food vouchers if in immediate and urgent need.
Mental Health Support
- Self-isolation is likely to have a negative impact on our mental health and it is important we remain aware of this and try to buffer against it by putting support strategies in place. The EIC can recommend support strategies to help you cope through this time of isolation.
- Telephone and skype counselling are available to industry members.
- Psychiatric assessments for complex mental health issues are available to industry members.
- Signposting to other mental health support services and online services.
Symptoms, hygiene and self-isolation
- The EIC is recommending that individuals with pre-existing health conditions i.e. undergoing cancer treatment, heart disease, diabetes and others should self-isolated and managers need to be informed as soon as possible if you care for or reside with a family member or person who is deemed as having pre-existing health conditions. The EIC can provide further guidance to you if you feel unsure as to how to communicate this to your employer.
- Hygiene tips and resources
- Managing self-isolation