We begin 2022 in a much better place than we started 2021. Yes, once again we have a new variant of Covid presenting a threat. But we are more strongly protected and equipped to deal with the challenges that Omicron brings than we were 12 months ago when faced with Delta. Thanks to the amazing work of scientists and biochemists around the world, the miracle of the Covid-19 vaccines has enabled us to start to return to a degree of normality in our lives over recent months – even with the Plan B restrictions that are currently in force.
The astonishing rollout of the booster programme meant many of us were able to have a better Christmas this year than last. I’d like to thank the medical staff and volunteers who have been involved in the herculean effort of getting millions more jabs in arms over the past month. Whether in village pharmacies, mobile units or mass walk-in centres; whether GPs overseeing prescribing, off-duty nurses jabbing or volunteers stewarding the queues and car parks, the dedication of so many local people has been extraordinary.
Christmas is regarded as the season of goodwill to all, but in Buckinghamshire, the entire year has been marked by neighbours caring for one another, businesses going the extra mile to help their customers, people pulling together. Whether it’s been collecting prescriptions, doing grocery shopping or standing on the doorstep for a chat, each and every act of kindness has made a difference to somebody’s life. So have the sacrifices many local people have made for the greater good – missing major events like weddings, isolating to protect colleagues, friends and family or even, tragically, sometimes being unable to spend final moments with loved ones. There has undoubtedly been a tremendous community spirit in evidence throughout the whole of this past difficult year.
So whilst we still don’t know enough about Omicron to make firm predictions for the future, I am sure that together we will face it with renewed determination, confident that 2022 will herald brighter days.
I wish you all a safe, healthy and happy New Year.