Statement from Rochford District Council, 19 February 2021

Friday, February 19, 2021



The Government has announced that it has introduced a number of new accessibility improvements to the home testing programme to make it easier to get tested.

The improvements include:

People who do not have access to the internet can now order home testing kits over the phone by calling 119, without needing an email address or any other digital requirement
A new NHS Test and Trace partnership with Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) to improve the home testing service for people with visual impairments
A new video-call support service with specially trained NHS Test and Trace staff that will assist people with vision impairments to test at home

Clinically extremely vulnerable people

The Government has published reference-only versions of the letters sent by the Government to people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, following additions announced to the Shielded Patient List. This includes letters for adults, children, young people and high-risk individuals.

New technology has been introduced in England to help clinicians identify, for the first time, a new group of people who may be at high risk from COVID-19. Over 800,000 adults will now be prioritised to receive a vaccine as part of the current vaccination cohorts.

The patients identified through the risk assessment will be sent a letter from NHS England in the coming days explaining that their risk factors may help identify them as high clinical risk and that they are included within the support and advice for the clinically extremely vulnerable. They will be invited to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible if they have not already had the jab, and will be given advice on precautionary measures, including shielding where this is current advice. Their GPs are also being notified.

If friends and family are not able to collect prescriptions or medicines for individuals who have been advised to shield, then they will also be eligible for free medicines delivery from local community pharmacies.

If those advised to shield cannot work from home, they are advised not to go to work and may be eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furlough scheme), Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), Employment Support Allowance (ESA), or Universal Credit, depending on individual circumstances.

Employees or workers who have been advised to shield should talk to their employer as soon as they can about the guidance they are now advised to follow.

General support for clinically extremely vulnerable people can be found here:

Also please feel free to use the Rochford District Community Response Hub

This helpline is available on 01268 779999, (9am - 4pm 7days a week) and offers support to those who do not have friends or family nearby, or local support networks.


The Government has announced the NHS is inviting the next cohort of people to be vaccinated. This includes those aged over 65 and other clinically vulnerable people aged between16 and 64 with underlying health conditions, who have not yet been vaccinated. Adult carers are also being invited to receive their vaccines.

Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.

It is the Government's intention to offer a vaccination to everyone in the first nine priority groups, including everyone over 50 by May and all adults by September. To facilitate this, the Government has published a COVID-19 vaccination uptake plan which sets out how government and NHS England are partnering with Directors of Public Health, charities and the faith sector to increase vaccine take up and ensure equal access in all communities.

The plan builds on work underway to reach more hesitant audiences, including translating vaccine resources to over 13 languages, and raising awareness especially amongst ethnic minorities, homeless people, asylum seekers and those with disabilities.

The Government has also published the latest vaccine stakeholder top lines and Q&A which can be found here:

For the latest information about vaccinations in our district please use the link below.


The Department for Education (DfE) updated the guidance for parents on supporting their children’s remote education to provide more information for parents and carers.

DfE has added top tips for supporting children during remote education, including links to information about the Reading Well booklist that supports mental health. They have also provided information on how to access online resources and services through your local library and online support for parents and carers to keep children and young people safe from online harm.


Across the UK people are playing their part and providing essential support to their friends and family who are in isolation. The Government has updated its guidance for those who are helping people who are shielding.

NHS advice

Everyone is reminded to follow the NHS advice – wash your hands; wear a face covering; keep social distancing and, as we will be spending more time indoors, let fresh air into your home to ventilate it.

Please use our website!

Don’t forget a lot of useful content is available via our website and this will be updated regularly, so is the best place to check first and we have a dedicated section at Our other media channels are also good sources of information -, Facebook: Rochford District Council, Instagram: @RochfordDC and Twitter: @RochfordDC

We would like to reassure everyone that we are working closely with our partners from across Essex in the NHS, emergency services, county council and other local authorities, ensuring that well-practiced plans are put into place.


The council is monitoring Government guidance daily and will be issuing communications to staff, members and the public regularly, so please watch our website, sign up for e-mail alerts or go to our social media channels to keep up-to-date with the latest information.