Update on COVID-19 restrictions

19 July 2021

As England prepares for so called ‘Freedom day’ on Monday 19 July there are many grave concerns about the level of restrictions being lifted.

We strongly recommend and urge people to continue to wear face coverings on public transport, inside public premises and especially in healthcare settings.

This is essential to keep people safe and restrict the spread of the virus at this precarious moment in our journey with COVID.

The approach to easing restrictions in other parts of the UK offer more reassurance, especially for those who are not yet vaccinated or remain at higher risk due to a variety of conditions. There has been dreadful social media posts almost condemning those who are identified as clinically vulnerable or extremely vulnerable, to a life under house arrest. People who post such vile and uninformed statements have no understanding that this group of people are not ‘just patients’ without family and work obligations!  People who are immune-suppressed or immuno-compromised –are mothers, fathers, grandparents, carers, bus drivers, teachers, police officers, doctors, nurses, shop workers etc. etc. Why should they be denied their liberty because someone ‘doesn’t like wearing a mask’?

NRAS has been working with an ever growing alliance of patient organisations from across the UK to ensure the voices of people we represent are heard at the highest level and by employers to aid in the understanding of the issues still facing many thousands of individuals and their families https://www.kidneycareuk.org/news-and-campaigns/news/half-million-people-not-protected-covid-19-vaccines-need-workplace-support/

NRAS recommendations for those living with RA or JIA as restrictions are eased

  • Continue to wear face coverings in public places, healthcare settings and on public transport

If you haven’t had full doses of the vaccine please do so as soon as possible.  Whilst it has been reported that people who are immunocompromised may not mount as effective a response to the COVID vaccine as the general population, there are so many variables it is impossible to make generalised statements about how individuals are impacted. Research has shown that having both vaccines will give you greater protections against serious COVID and possible hospitalisation, than if you did not have the vaccine….. Some protection is better than no protection

  • Protection from COVID is not only down to level of anti-body response so anti-body testing is not recommended as this can give misleading results.
  • If your employer is ‘insisting’ you return to a place of work they are legally obliged to ensure they comply with Health & Safety regulations to keep all their staff safe from harm. If you believe that your workplace is not offering you sufficient COVID safety measures you should first raise your concerns with your employer. If this is unsuccessful you can find more information at https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/index.htm.
  • You can also see a very useful document signed by many health charities to share with your employer https://www.kidneycareuk.org/news-and-campaigns/news/half-million-people-not-protected-covid-19-vaccines-need-workplace-support/
  • As someone with a long-term condition like RA or JIA you have the right to ask for ‘reasonable adjustments’ under the equality act 2010. For more information on your rights and responsibilities within the workplace here is our free resource I want to work. https://nras.org.uk/resource/i-want-to-work/
  • When offered the autumn booster jabs please ensure you avail yourself of both the flu and COVID vaccines

COVID is not gone away we all need to continue to be vigilant and adapt to a new way of living with such a virus in our midst. One way to keep the message going is to wear a mask and maintain social distancing as is reasonably possible.

NRAS masks and Keep Your Distance tote bags are still available in our shop www.nras.org.uk/shop