UK home secretary Priti Patel has urged people from ethnic backgrounds to get the coronavirus vaccine when their time comes.
She said this while visiting a vaccination centre set up with the help of volunteers from Neasden Temple on Wednesday(3).
The centre at the Swaminarayan School in Neasden, north west London, opened on Tuesday(2) and has been supporting the rollout of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history.
Patel was accompanied by representatives from the Neasden Temple.
The home secretary is a regular visitor to the Temple. She celebrated Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, at the Temple in October 2019 before the pandemic, a statement said.
“It is wonderful to see so many community leaders providing reassurance within their communities about the vaccine, encouraging as many people as possible to get vaccinated. I am delighted that so many people are coming forward to get the vaccine, including my own parents who have already received their first jab,” Patel said.
“This vaccine is safe and getting the jab will help to protect you and your loved ones. It is our best chance of beating this virus, irrespective of ethnicity or background, so I urge everyone to support the largest vaccination programme in NHS history by getting the jab when their time comes.”
During the visit, she met with NHS staff and volunteers to hear first-hand experiences of how they have been working together at the centre, and received an update on their progress of administering vaccines since it opened.
“Whatever someone’s background, ethnicity or their religious beliefs, we are working hard alongside healthcare staff, community leaders and local partners to make sure everyone who is eligible for the vaccine can get their jab,” said Nadhim Zahawi, minister for Covid vaccine deployment.
“Millions of people have already been vaccinated right across the UK and we remain on track to meet our target of offering a first dose to everyone in the top four priority cohorts by mid February.”
In June 2020, the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir community helped to establish an antigen testing centre in the school car park. In December last year, it helped to develop a mobile testing laboratory to enable coronavirus test results to be given within 24 hours.