Fewer than five cases of Indian variant of Covid-19 detected in Lincolnshire so far
Cases of the Indian variant in Lincolnshire remain low, but health bosses say it will one day become the dominant strain like the Kent variant did.
Health leaders are now trying to temper concerns around the vaccine and reassure people it is safe, in a bid to get as many people to get the jab as possible.
On Tuesday, Sky News published a map which showed where some cases had been confirmed across the county.
The map, which uses figures from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, shows the variant in 127 local authorities – with a rolling average across May 1-8 showing 1 sample processed in West Lindsey and 0.5 in East Lindsey.
Matt Hancock said in the House of Commons on Monday that 2,323 cases had been confirmed across the UK as he opened up vaccines to those aged 36 and 37 and over.
Assistant director of public health at Lincolnshire County Council Andy Fox said his own data did not necessarily fit with the Wellcome Sanger data due to different methodologies.
He said: “We’re aware of just a handful of cases of the variant of concern first detected in India in Lincolnshire, less than five, and in all cases that we’re aware of there’s been no further onward transmission at this point.
“I’m expecting to see more variants of concern in Lincolnshire, and eventually over time, and it will be a slower process in Lincolnshire than elsewhere in the country, this new variant will just become the strain of Covid that is circulating.
“Just as much as flu strains change over time. Covid will probably continually change and new strains will come through but the good news is that as I say the vaccine does seem to be very effective against it.”
As lockdown restrictions relaxed further on Monday, Mr Fox said he was excited, but was always going to urge caution.
“The spread of Covid in some areas in the country is a reminder that we still need to be cautious. Just because we can now do some things that we couldn’t previously doesn’t mean that we should.
“People should still if they can prioritise mixing outdoors rather than indoors, that people should still keep safe two metres distance.
“If they can, obviously we do want people to be able to enjoy the new freedoms, but to do so responsibly to try and focus on protecting others through that behaviour and of course, to take up the offer of the vaccine.”
He said there was “no reason not to take” the vaccine, and that it was “clear the vaccine was safe and effective”.
He was happy with how quickly the vaccine had moved through all the age groups originally expecting it to be to be just about on the over 50s at this point rather than the 36-and-overs.
He said numbers in general remain stable as national rate fluctuated with the new variant but he was not concerned about small proportion increases and wouldn’t be until there was an exponential rise.