All being well, by the time you read this, the winners of the Optician Awards 2021 will have been revealed at a glittering ceremony at the Grosvenor Hotel on London’s Park Lane.

If previous events are anything to go by, there will have been elation, disappointment, good times and more than a few hangovers on Friday morning. We’ll have a full list of winners in next week’s issue.

It’s a sign of the times that just two days before the event, we can’t be fully 100% sure that the event is going to take place, especially as Boris Johnson has just scheduled an unexpected press conference for 4pm today (Tuesday 30). Even before the word Omicron entered our daily vocabularies, the coronavirus picture in mainland Europe had become fairly worrying and last week claimed yet another optical trade show with the postponement of Opti Munich until the spring.

The emergence of the Omicron variant has highlighted once again the tightrope we find ourselves on and the gamut of speculation is incredible. Could it be a ‘vaccine beater’ or could it in fact, be the end game for the pandemic, with a highly transmissible strain that produces mild symptoms? The simple fact is, we don’t have the complete picture yet.

Not having the lowdown on a new variant is one thing, but not being fully across a situation that began almost two years ago, is another. So when the House of Lords finds so many short comings in the Department for Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) proposed legislation for mandatory vaccinations among NHS staff (In Focus, page 7), it’s hard not to feel aggrieved.

At present, only hospital optometrists, in addition to domiciliary practitioners, will be mandated to be vaccinated, but with support for wider practice teams receiving a vaccination already in place, it’s hard not to imagine the mandate being extended.