Sheffield news LIVE: Updates as girl, 16, rushed to hospital after park attack

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Welcome to The Star’s live blog on Tuesday May 4.

Welcome to The Star’s live blog on Tuesday May 4, where you will be able to find a round-up of the latest coronavirus news and the biggest Sheffield news stories of the day.

Sheffield LIVE

Key Events

  • Ros Jones has been re-elected as Doncaster Mayor for the 3rd time.
  • Tragedy as ‘popular and healthy’ Sheffield headteacher dies after short cancer battle
  • ‘Strange but smooth’: Sheffield voters head to the polls in unique local election
  • Blow for Starmer as Hartlepool elects Tory MP for first time in a generation

DoH issues advice to anyone under 40 who had AstraZeneca as first dose

Keep coming forward for your first and second COVID-19 vaccine doses.

That’s the clear advice to the public, as the unprecedented drive to protect the population continues.

Vaccines continue to save lives in Northern Ireland and to protect people from serious illness. The Astra Zeneca vaccine continues to be essential in the successful roll-out of our vaccination programme. Thanks to this programme, close to a million people here have already received their first vaccine dose, helping society to emerge carefully from lockdown.

Following the latest advice from the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), people aged under 40 will be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech in NI through the regional Trust vaccination centres.

Anyone of any age who has had a first dose of Astra Zeneca should proceed with their second dose of this same vaccine.

The JCVI has advised that those aged under 40 may still make an informed choice to receive the Astra Zeneca vaccine, for instance where no alternative vaccine is available, or where someone has an appointment booked for vaccination in the coming days and may prefer not to reschedule to receive an alternative vaccine.

The JCVI’s updated advice relates to reports of extremely rare adverse events of concurrent thrombosis (blood clots) and thrombocytopenia (low platelet count) following vaccination with the first dose of AstraZeneca vaccine.

The JCVI has updated its risk/benefit advice in relation to age groups, in light of the current low incidence of disease and current and projected availability of alternative vaccines. In light of these factors, Pfizer is now its recommended vaccine for under 40’s.

The change means some logistical alterations to Northern Ireland’s vaccination programme. From Monday, May 10.

* People aged 40 plus can book Astra Zeneca first dose appointments at the SSE Arena vaccination centre and community pharmacies.

* People aged 30-39 can book their Pfizer first dose appointments at the other regional Trust vaccination centres across NI.

* People aged 30-39 can choose to make an informed decision to receive the AstraZeneca vaccine from participating community pharmacies if that is what they prefer or if they decide they would rather not wait to receive an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

* Anyone aged under 40 already booked for their first vaccine at one of the Trust centres, including the SSE Arena, will have this appointment honoured – with the Pfizer vaccine.

* Anyone of any age who has received an Astra Zeneca first dose should proceed with their second dose of Astra Zeneca. That’s unless they had an extreme adverse reaction to the first dose.

Head of the NI vaccination programme Patricia Donnelly said: “Protecting our adult population through vaccination is a huge and unprecedented undertaking. Logistical challenges are inevitable, but the programme has already proved itself to be highly resilient.

“I would again appeal for patience from the public, as we reset the programme in light of the updated JCVI advice.

“Pfizer supplies remain steady but limited, so our progress with the 30-39 age group will be limited for the next few weeks. Likewise, those under 30 will have to wait a few weeks before being offered appointments for their first dose.”

Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael McBride said: “It is important to reiterate that the potential risk associated with the AZ first dose is extremely rare and that the threat from COVID-19 is much higher for the majority of adults.

“Getting vaccinated against this virus gives us hope – it protects us and helps us to start reclaim normality. I am looking forward to getting my second dose of Astra Zeneca in the near future and I would again encourage everyone to come forward without delay for their first and second jabs when it’s their turn.”

The number of deaths registered in England and Wales in 2020 was 14.3% above the average for the previous five years, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has confirmed.

A total of 607,922 deaths were registered, compared with an average of 532,077 in 2015-19.

This means there were 75,845 extra deaths, or “excess deaths”.

Covid-19 was responsible for 97% of these excess deaths, the ONS said.

Ros Jones has been re-elected as Doncaster Mayor for the 3rd time.

Blow for Starmer as Hartlepool elects Tory MP for first time in a generation

Hopes of a Labour revival under Sir Keir Starmer have suffered a blow after the Conservative Party comfortably won the Hartlepool by-election.

The Leave-supporting North East constituency went blue for the first time in its 47-year-old history, as Boris Johnson demolished another brick in Labour’s so-called “red wall”.

Voters in the town backed Tory candidate Jill Mortimer to be their next MP over Labour’s Dr Paul Williams – an avid Remainer and second-referendum campaigner during his time as MP for Stockton South from 2017-19 – in a rare by-election victory for a party in power for more than a decade.

The Conservative, who declared it a “truly historic result”, secured a 6,940 majority winning 15,529 votes to Dr Williams’ 8,589.

Ms Mortimer told supporters: “I’m going to work tirelessly for Hartlepool and I will not let you down, I will not fail you.”

The defeat was signalled by senior figures hours before the official announcement, with shadow transport secretary Jim McMahon telling Sky News shortly before 3am his party was “not close to winning this”.

The result will be a setback for Sir Keir, who took over as Opposition leader from Jeremy Corbyn four months after the party’s disastrous 2019 general election performance with the promise of turning it back into a winning force.

It is likely to mean questions about the strategy he has pursued as leader over the past year, with traditional Labour voters seemingly continuing to turn away from the party in the wake of Brexit.

Early results in council contests after the Super Thursday elections appeared to show voters deserting Labour, with the Tories seizing Redditch and Nuneaton & Bedworth councils in the Midlands, along with Harlow in Essex, while Sir Keir’s party saw heavy losses across North East local authorities.

A Labour source said Sir Keir would “take responsibility for these results” and for “fixing” the party’s electoral woes.

Prominent figures from the left wing of the party were quick to criticise the outcome and the approach taken.

Former shadow home secretary Diane Abbott tweeted: “Not possible to blame Jeremy Corbyn for this result. Labour won the seat twice under his leadership.

“Keir Starmer must think again about his strategy.”

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick had sought to pile pressure on the Prime Minister’s rival before the declaration, telling Sky News that “if it is even close, I would say that is a really serious indictment of Keir Starmer”.

Shadow cabinet minister Thangam Debbonaire admitted the party’s new messaging was “not cutting through”.

Alex Norris, shadow public health minister, denied that the loss was Sir Keir’s responsibility and pointed to the coronavirus pandemic as a factor in the lack of progress made in the polls under his leadership.

“In the entire period Keir has been leader we’ve been in a global pandemic and he hasn’t been able to give a public appearance yet,” he told Sky News.

“So actually, I think he has done a great job in connecting the way he has, and we’ve got more to do.”

Hartlepool was held by Labour with a majority of 3,595 in 2019, even as other bricks in the red wall crumbled – in part due to the Brexit Party splitting the Tory vote.

Both Mr Johnson and Sir Keir made three visits during the campaign in a sign of the importance the by-election represented to their parties.

A Labour source said: “We’ve said all along the North East and the Midlands would be difficult.

“But the message from voters is clear and we have heard it – Labour has not yet changed nearly enough for voters to place their trust in us.

“We understand that. We are listening. And we will now redouble our efforts.

“People don’t want to hear excuses. Keir has said he will take responsibility for these results – and he will take responsibility for fixing it and changing the Labour Party for the better.”

Following the Hartlepool declaration, attention will turn to results elsewhere as ballots continue to be counted across England, Scotland and Wales in the largest test of political opinion outside a general election.

Results from the Holyrood election – where the issue of Scottish independence was a main feature in the campaign – will come through later on Friday and Saturday.

Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Nicola Sturgeon’s push for a second independence referendum means the stakes are high in the contest.

The SNP is expected to emerge again as the largest party in the Scottish Parliament after the election, but it wants to win an overall majority of MSPs as it pushes for a second vote on splitting from the Union – something which polls suggest remains in the balance.

Mr Johnson has refused to countenance another poll, setting up the potential for constitutional fireworks over the coming years if Ms Sturgeon gets the outcome she desires.

Results of the elections – which also include the Welsh Parliament, police and crime commissioners and English local authorities and mayors – are expected to continue filtering through until Monday as counting will take longer than normal due to coronavirus restrictions.

In Wales, Mark Drakeford hopes to maintain Labour’s grip on the Senedd – but he may find himself forced to forge a new coalition to stay as First Minister.

That could mean talks with Plaid Cymru, whose leader Adam Price has committed to an independence referendum within five years if his party wins a majority.

‘Strange but smooth’: Sheffield voters head to the polls in unique local election

Voters said it was strange but smooth as they headed to the polls for a unique local elections that involved Covid regulations and, for some, four different votes.

Tragedy as ‘popular and healthy’ Sheffield headteacher dies after short cancer battle

A ‘popular’ and ‘strong’ Sheffield headteacher has lost her battle with cancer, just two months after she was first diagnosed.

Mosques call for calm after Prophet Muhammad image shown at Sheffield school assembly

Sheffield mosques have called for calm after a teacher mistakenly showed an image of Prophet Muhammad during a school assembly last week.

The school released a letter of apology saying it was a “genuine mistake and the person involved is mortified,” amid furious parent protests

The Government said a further 27 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday, bringing the UK total to 127,570.

Separate figures published by the UK’s statistics agencies show there have been 152,000 deaths registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate.

The Government also said that, as of 9am on Wednesday, there had been a further 2,144 lab-confirmed cases in the UK.

It brings the total to 4,425,940.

Voters across Great Britain will head to the polls on May 6 on what has been dubbed “Super Thursday”.

There is a bumper crop of elections this time, as many were postponed from last May because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Every adult in England, Scotland and Wales will be able to cast at least one vote, which is rare outside a general election.

Estimated declaration times have always come with a warning they could be taken only as a rough guide and were subject to change in the light of new information.

However, in the case of the May 2021 elections, they have been very difficult to produce because of the circumstances of the pandemic, as authorities are unsure how long it will take to count votes while keeping to social distancing requirements.

Although voting ends at 10pm on Thursday, the final results are not expected until Monday.

Sheffield local council election 2021: Who are the candidates standing in my area?

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