Bradford Council hosted another live Question and Answer session on Facebook.

The panel took questions from members of the public who wanted to voice their concerns about the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of  Bradford Council was joined by, Sarah Muckle Director of Public Health in Bradford, Consultant Respiratory Physician Professor Dinesh Saralaya and Nancy O’Neil, Deputy Chief Officer and Strategic Director Transformation and Change at Bradford and Airedale.

Beginning the Q&A Sarah Muckle Director of Public Health in Bradford cleared up the details about what families can do over the Christmas period.

Reminding residents of Bradford that as we are in Tier 3 so we can meet up with a maximum of three households. If you have already formed a support bubble with another household, that counts as one household, so you can join with two other households in a Christmas bubble. You may not form a bubble with anyone from a tier four area. You can meet people in your Christmas bubble in private homes or gardens, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces.

The first question was if there was a chance Bradford could be placed in Tier 4

Sarah Muckle answered this by stating: we won’t know till the 30 December when there is another review. It depends on people limiting what they do over the festive season, good chance then to avoid going into tier 4. We are of course lifting restrictions on Christmas Day and then this new variant on the virus.

The Bradford Council covid Q&A panel

Susan Hinchcliffe then updated viewers on the latest figures for the district with the R-rate at 165 per 100,000. But said that of all those that are being tested only 7% of the tests coming back positive for the virus

When the panel were asked about the Pfizer vaccine safety and the reactions to it, Professor Saralaya answered by saying

“If you have allergic reactions to vaccines then you’re being told not to have it. But other vaccines are coming into circulation in the near future so it will be safer for them. If you haven’t had an allergic reaction in past it’s unlikely, you’ll get one to the Covid-19 vaccine.”

On when will the rest of the community get the vaccine Nancy O’Neil said we can’t give an exact date yet, we are following the guidance. We started on 14 December and so far, 8,000 vaccines completed. Clinically vulnerable will likely be contacted in the new year. We can only go as fast as we can get the vaccine, there are difficulties around keeping the vaccine in the highest condition.

The next question was why has Bradford been in local lockdown for so long?

Susan Hinchcliffe took this one saying the city is a working city; we have high numbers of those who are working and cannot work from home.

The council leader stated that there is a 38% child poverty rate across the city and with some areas being condensed with no outdoor spaces this is where the virus has impacted the most.

Sarah Muckle was then asked about the new strain of coronavirus and are the guidelines enough.

The Director of Public Health in Bradford said they don’t know how long we’ve had it or when it was first mutated.  That there has been no evidence to suggest that the tests or vaccines won’t work.

However, the new strain is more transmissible, meaning you only need a small amount of the virus to pass it on

The next question was about restrictions on those who don’t want the vaccine.

Professor Saralaya took this one and said anyone who is sceptical of the virus should ask the experts. He said that for those who have suffered from Covid, their natural immunity doesn’t last long. In order to encourage vaccination, he said “We shouldn’t ask about what restrictions might be placed upon us if not vaccinated, but to answer the questions about why they wouldn’t want it. Before revealing that we will need to vaccinate 70% of the world population to make sure we are safe to exit the pandemic.

In the hour, long session, the panel answered questions on reporting businesses who are not complying with the rules and what provisions the council are making too sure they can support the rising number of people coming forward with mental health issues due to the pandemic.

Finishing the Q&A the panel looked ahead to 2021 the panel said there is plenty to look forward to and the vaccine is so important that there is way out of this.

Before Councillor Hinchcliffe again urged caution as the restrictions are being lifted on Christmas Day and thanked everyone for following the rules.