History has been made as the largest global vaccination campaign has begun.
For the past year the world has been in the grips of the COVID-19 pandemic; face masks, sanitiser and social distancing have become part of our everyday lives as we try to limit the spread and bring this devastating virus under control.
To date there are over 90 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, spread throughout 190 countries.
Once again many countries find themselves facing national lockdowns to try and control the spread of the virus. There is however one difference this time; thanks to a global effort, a handful of COVID-19 vaccines have been approved and authorised for use.
On 8th December the UK became the first country in the world to approve and administer a COVID-19 vaccine, the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine. This was closely followed by the US on the 14th December and Europe on 27th December. As well as the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine; a number of vaccines have been developed, including Moderna and AstraZeneca, with many more still being developed and tested.
Both the UK and European Union are currently offering the vaccines to healthcare professionals and those over 70, before widening this to more of the population throughout 2021. The vaccine is given in two doses up to 12 weeks apart and will offer recipients long lasting protection. Plans to increase the rollout of the vaccines are in discussion as conference centres and sports grounds are identified as mass vaccination centres and talks continue about extending the hours spent vaccinating, with some countries looking at potentially administering them twenty-four hours, seven days a week.
With the vaccine rollout however comes a stark warning; don’t get complacent. We are fighting COVID-19 but the battle is far from over. There is a long road ahead, with the majority of the population months away from receiving the first dose of a vaccine. At this crucial stage of the fight we cannot forget the basics; wash hands, disinfect surfaces.
“A global pandemic requires a world effort to end it – none of us will be safe until everyone is safe”
- Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
Studies have shown a single cough can produce up to 3,000 droplets. If respiratory droplets from the cough or sneeze of an infected person are inhaled they can cause infection, this is thought to be the main way the virus is spread. Research also suggests these droplets could potentially remain suspended in the air, forming a collection, or cloud, of droplets referred to as an ‘aerosol’; this could pose a risk for indoor facilities with poor ventilation.
Droplets from an infected person can also be transferred via contaminated surfaces. If droplets land on surfaces and an individual touches that surface then touches their mouth, nose or eyes they could unknowingly contract the virus. It’s possible for COVID-19 to live on surfaces such as door handles and worktops for days.
Industrial settings and manufacturing facilities contain numerous high touch point surfaces that are likely to transfer infection if the right precautions are not taken. Equipment, tools and machinery are often handled by numerous operators. We know that the vaccines prevent people becoming ill with COVID-19 but research is still on-going as to whether a vaccinated person can still transmit the virus so cleaning equipment, sanitising control panels and washing hands remain critical – we cannot ease restrictions or relax precautions just yet.
One of the easiest, most effective ways of controlling the spread of coronavirus is through frequent and thorough hand washing. The advice from the WHO is regularly wash your hands with soap and water; where this is not possible, thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. For guidance on hand washing from the WHO, take a look at our step by step guide.
Does your facility provide a hand care programme? The importance of hand cleaning to keep industry running has never been more crucial. Putting in place measures to keep employees safe aids the vaccine roll-out. Having not only hand wash and sanitiser but also barrier creams and moisturiser available ensures a secure working environment. Why not take a look at our Industrial Hand Care blog to find out more about why hand care is so important to your operations.
Remember those high touch point surfaces? Equipment, tools and machinery as well as work surfaces, door handles and hand rails; disinfecting these will prevent the spread of viruses along with an effective hand care programme but don’t forget to degrease your surfaces first.
In an industrial setting, germs can hide underneath greasy soils; these greasy soils protect the germs from disinfectant. Degreasing ahead of the disinfection process removes this protection, allowing the disinfectant product to remove all germs.
Industrial degreasers will penetrate even the most stubborn grease and grime; leaving behind a clean, bright and uncontaminated surface, ready for disinfection. Follow these simple steps to keep your site clean and sanitised:
- Pre-clean and Degrease
Wipe, sweep or pre-rinse the surface to remove excess waste. For heavily soiled surfaces use a degreaser.
- Clean & Disinfect
Use a disinfectant cleaner to remove grease and soil and also kill any bacteria on the surface.
Remove any remaining grease, soil and disinfectant from the surface. For food contact surfaces rinse with potable water.
Use a dry clean dry cloth or paper towel to remove moisture from the surface.
With a combination of the right preventative measures; social distancing, face masks and of course hand and surface sanitising, we are giving the vaccine roll-out chance to become effective, we are slowing down the spread of coronavirus. We are also ensuring better practises for when the vaccine roll-out is complete. Putting in place the right hand care and surface disinfection programmes now forms a barrier for not only COVID-19 but other germs and bacteria that can cause harm.
Want more information about how the right hand care and surface disinfection programme can benefit your site? Contact NCH to find out about our full range of surface disinfectants and hand cleaners and sanitisers https://www.ncheurope.com/en/contact