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NEWS ROUNDUP: Leeds vaccine update


22/07/21 | Leeds local news | A new vaccine update report claims almost three quarters of adults in the district have now received their first Covid-19 jabs.

The document added that nearly nine in 10 people classed as “clinically extremely vulnerable” now had both doses, while an even greater proportion of over-70s had the full protection from Covid-19.

However, it added that there were still around 40,000 adults in the city classified as high risk who had not yet been vaccinated, while hospitalisations are expected to rise throughout the summer.

The document stated that, in Leeds, almost 528,000 people have received their first Covid-19 vaccination, and more than 426,000 have received their second as of 15 July.

This means 74 per cent of the adult population have had a first dose and 60 per cent of the adult population with both doses. Around 87 per cent of the clinically extremely vulnerable cohort, and 83 per cent of the ‘at-risk’ cohort have also been double-jabbed.

The report stated: “There is continued focus on increasing the number of people having their first vaccine to at least 80 per cent to help keep everyone safer.

“There are roughly around 40,000 unvaccinated people in Leeds that fall into high risk, priority cohorts one through to nine. We continue to monitor these number very closely and continue to undertake targeted proactive work with communication going out regularly encouraging vaccination uptake.”

It added that around half of 18-29 year olds in the city are yet to be vaccinated, and that this “poses obvious risks” due to the government’s lifting of lockdown restrictions this week.

The council said it was planning “several targeted programmes”, including mobile vaccination sites and a pop-up site in the Trinity Centre, to try to encourage more young people to get their vaccinations.

It added that infection rates varied wildly between different council wards in Leeds – with the lowest infection rate at 233.5 per 100,000 and the highest at 772.2 per 100,000. According to the latest data received by Public Health England, rates have risen across Leeds 22 wards, remained stable across seven, with only one seeing a decrease.

The report claimed: “Although vaccines have weakened the link between infection rates, hospitalisations and deaths, Covid patients in hospitals have increased recently and the number of patients is expected to rise further.

“Around a one in three patients have had both vaccines. The average age of patients is 60 years old, a younger average age than in previous peaks. The death rate is significantly lower than earlier this year.

“In addition to the need to open additional Covid wards, the hospital continues to see large numbers of attendances through A&E. There has already been cancellation of some planned surgeries. The expectation is that hospital cases will rise over the summer.”

(LDRS | Richard Beecham)



The number of people in Leeds wanting to become foster carers increased by a fifth during the Covid-19 pandemic, a new report has claimed.

It added that, despite a number of people leaving the fostering service due to retirement, a large number of people came forward, leading to a net increase of dozens of foster households.

But the report said Covid also meant the many of the usual face to face contact the service had with foster carers had to be suspended and undertaken on video conferencing apps such as Skype.

The report was looking into how Covid-19 pandemic had affected fostering services in the council, and found an increase during the 2020/21 municipal year of around 20 percent in the numbers of people expressing an interest in becoming a foster carer.

This led to 35 new mainstream foster carers, another 10 foster carers for those with complex needs, 89 new kinship carers and 10 new rent-a-room providers for young people.

Despite this, however, the council saw a total of 45 carers retire or leave fostering. The report added: “The numbers leaving our fostering service is not unusual and reflects people retiring, taking on Special Guardianship Orders for children placed with them as foster care or feeling that they wish to take on new challenges. The table below provides more detail.”

In total, 121 households were de-registered from the fostering service, while 166 new households were added.

The report stated: “Where possible we have used internet enabled technologies to maintain visual contact during our work and to support carers and children.

“Carers have helped children maintain family time with their birth families. Foster Carers have worked to support family time in parks or open air venues when lockdown rules have permitted.

“We have also worked to use Skype, Teams and other apps to support links between children looked after and their birth families. We have worked to make sure that contact between children and their birth family has been maintained and kept as frequent and regular as before lockdown.

“The children placed with foster carers have been able to access their education physically throughout the lockdowns and carers have supported this. Where circumstances have prevented this, carers have supported our children to access their education online.

“Covid has made our work more challenging, but with the support of our carers and colleagues, we have been able to maintain children’s placements with foster families. COVID has delayed some of our service development activities and these are covered in the sections below.

“The need to prioritise support for carers and our children has meant that some of the service development activities we had planned have been delayed or paused during the last year, these are back on track now and will be progressed during the next 12 months.”

(LDRS | Richard Beecham)



Ailith Harley-Roberts is a founding member and service manager of Leeds based charity Sunshine and Smiles. On 24th July she will be swimming 3.9km, cycling 180km and finishing with a 42.2km run - all within 17 hours - to complete a home-made Iron distance triathlon in Yorkshire.

Others will be joining her for parts of the event, both to challenge themselves and support Ailith in her epic mission.

The whole event will be with the aim of raising essential funds for Sunshine and Smiles to create ‘The Sunshine Hub’.

Why now?

2021 is a significant year because it marks 10 years since the charity began hosting groups for families in Leeds. It also includes the number “21” and people who have Down syndrome have an extra copy of chromosome 21.

We have the exciting opportunity to take over the lead tenancy of a Community Hall, to invest in the building and its future. We’ve been tenants at a local Community Hall since 2013 and we think it is a wonderful space with so much potential but it definitely needs some TLC!

During the coronavirus pandemic we have been able to run many of our activities virtually, but we are aware of the real need in our community for a safe, accessible & supportive physical space to meet and run our activities.

Our aim is to create a vibrant and welcoming community hub for Sunshine & Smiles, and also to offer work opportunities for people with Down syndrome.

For more info, click here.

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