CCG must up its jab game

Reading recent statements from Steve Maddern at PH Swindon it appears that over 30,000 people over 18 in the Swindon area have still not had a first Covid-19 vaccination. Recent studies (one in Tyneside is worth reading) show that younger people, especially males from disadvantaged areas, and also ethnic minorities are less likely to be vaccinated.

Looking at recent daily vaccination figures sadly there have been days recently with only single figure vaccinations and not surprisingly Swindon continues to have higher than both national and regional case rates. While there are other issues such as badly organised music festivals and poor ventilation in some schools it is clear that a low vaccination rate is putting Swindon in a vulnerable position.

It is the regional health authority the CCG that is responsible for vaccinations. They have consistently failed to recognise that vaccination centres need to be close to disadvantaged populations, and even now we have only one vaccination centre in SN1 which is easily reachable by the 20 per cent of the population with no car. Even the pharmacies they used in the Lawns and Highworth were in better off areas where vaccine take-up is high anyway. The CCG needs to up its game as regards to Swindon. Steam is not enough when the hospital is in such a poor location.

I would also contend that the public health department could do more to encourage vaccinations. In other areas just pointing out that not having vaccinations can make taking holidays abroad difficult has lead to increases in take-up. In Somerset a vaccine buddy was set up months ago to encourage young people to get vaccinated and the data from there shows successes compared to Swindon. I would encourage Steve Maddern and his team to actively engage with the cohorts mentioned to try and get more people vaccinated. This should include targeted public information campaigns. There is also no reason why he cannot lobby the CCG to have better located vaccination centres and to make sure the vaccine bus is used effectively in Swindon based on current data.

If we can drive case numbers down this will help the hospital and mean less deaths. Already we have lost three times as many people in Swindon as were lost at Hillsborough and we must not resign ourselves to losing any more than is inevitable. Complacency is not an option, saving lives is. In my opinion a public enquiry will be necessary so we learn from mistakes made so why not at this stage in the pandemic get our house in order in Swindon? The opportunity is there, the issues simple to understand, so lets take it.

Jonathan Sheldrake

Priam House


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Insensitive Savile drama

I was appalled to read about the proposed ‘sensitive drama’ that will star comedy actor Steve Coogan being made by the BBC about the life and crimes of Jimmy Savile.

Like many children growing up in the 1970s me and my sister wrote many letters to Jim’ll fix it with our hopes high that we would be picked out and could take part in this Saturday national favourite show. I remember our disappointment that another series had gone by and we hadn’t been contacted. In hindsight, with the shocking facts of this man’s crimes in the public domain I’m thankful our letters were not selected. Now years later this drama is being made. I wonder from who’s prospective it will be filmed? Will it be through the eyes of Savile himself? Surely not? Or more likely will it be filmed from the prospective of some official at the BBC seeing these crimes happening week in week out and doing nothing about it? No! We don’t need this programme to be made and I’m sure the hundreds and hundreds of this evil mans victims don’t want it made either. The filmmakers should leave Savile and his crimes alone and leave this creature in his unmarked grave in Leeds! Best place for him.

Steven Blanchard

Woodstock Road