Latest update from council leader - 24 November

Council offices at Time Square Bracknell

Cllr Paul Bettison, OBE, Leader of Bracknell Forest Council, said:

We’ve had good news already this week.

As of Monday 19 November, anyone aged 40 or over can book their COVID-19 booster. This booster provides the best protection against becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 and reduces the risk of spreading the virus to others. Remember, there must be 6 months between your second dose and the booster jab.

Also, as of Monday, 16 and 17 year olds are now able to book their second COVID-19 vaccine appointment using the national booking system at NHS.UK or by calling 119. As a reminder, the second dose can be received from 12 weeks after the first dose. 16 and 17 year olds seeking a first dose are also eligible to book on the national booking service or through calling 119.

In local news, Birch Hill Medical Centre and the Waitrose vaccination site are now offering COVID-19 vaccinations to 12 to 15 year olds.

As there is no walk-in option, you will need to pre-book an appointment. You can do so through the following methods:

  • for Birch Hill Medical Centre, email
  • for the Waitrose vaccine site, call 01344 233300
  • appointments for both sites can also be booked by visiting the NHS website, or by calling 119

I welcome all these changes. Vaccination remains the most important tool towards returning us to normality and safety. However, we cannot rely on vaccination alone. So, I’m pleased to welcome other important developments in the pushback against COVID-19.

There have also been subtle changes in the guidance around testing in recent days that I wanted to make you all aware of. School pupils are still expected to test twice weekly but adults are now encouraged to take their LFTs in specific scenarios.

These include:

  • when you are due to mix with people in a crowded indoor space
  • when you’re due to visit someone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19

Following these rules prioritises the safety of others, particularly the vulnerable. School pupils will continue to be able to get tests from their school; everyone else can get tests at community collect sites and at One Lexicon. 

You may also have seen a video recently from central government starring rugby union referee Wayne Barnes. This shows some behavioural changes we can all make to help contain the virus. So, watch out for this advert and consider how following the advice can help keep you and others safer.

I wanted to highlight this because we enter the time of year many of us enjoy the most, Christmas.

This weekend marks for me, the true start of the Christmas season. You may have already seen that the Christmas market is in town. The 12 wooden chalets surrounding Union Square will run throughout the festive season with something for everyone. Visit The Lexicon website for all of the details and then head on down to experience the excitement.

Although, when you go please remember to remain responsible by giving vulnerable people space and wearing face coverings if you can. Meeting outdoors is safer, but we still must all do what we can to protect ourselves, and each other, wherever we can. After last year’s festivities were interrupted by external circumstances, I know that many residents are looking forward to this year’s Christmas more than ever. I know that I am

Whatever you’re doing in the meantime though, I think that everyone can be in no doubt that the countdown to Christmas is well underway. Stay safe and enjoy your week ahead.