• Monday, November 28, 2022

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UK government and faith leaders join forces to support booster drive

People queue up for Covid-19 vaccinations and booster jabs at a community centre near Oval in London. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

By: Sattwik Biswal

THE UK government and faith leaders have united in the national effort to see the people get Covid-19 doses in the wake of a surge in Omicron cases.

The drive is being supported by religious leaders, including members of the Prime Minister’s Places of Worship Taskforce, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sheikh Nuru Mohammed, and the General Secretary of the Hindu Council.

Faith minister Kemi Badenoch on Friday (17) had a meeting with the religious leaders to thank them for their work so far and called on them for their urgent support in increasing the booster uptake.

The Faith leaders of many communities across the country – have played a vital role throughout the pandemic, from backing the vaccine drive.

As numbers of the new variant continue to rise at an alarming rate, the government on Friday (17) joined forces with the faith leaders to help spread the message that booster shots are critical in the fight against Covid.

The UK has one of the highest uptake rates in the world, with more than 85 per cent of adults double jabbed so far. However, data shows that people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are currently less likely to take up the vaccine.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said: “Faith and local community leaders have played a vital role supporting the Covid-19 vaccine programme from the very beginning. Thank you to everyone who is uniting behind this national mission, spreading the word about the life-saving benefits of the vaccines and encouraging people to roll up their sleeves and get boosted now.

“We’re working with the NHS to provide advice and information at every opportunity on how to get a vaccine and the protection it provides. Today’s discussion with faith leaders is another opportunity to listen to views from across the country and join forces to get ahead in the race against the Omicron variant.”

Faith minister Badenoch said: “More than 25 million people have already received their booster jab, helping to keep themselves, their friends and family safe this winter but we need everyone from every community to come forward to get ahead of this virus.

“This is why I have joined up with leaders from across all the major faiths to ask people of every denomination to come forward and support this huge national effort.

“Vaccines are our best defence against Omicron – I therefore urge faith communities, and everyone, to book yourself in today and join the national fight against this virus.”

All eligible adults aged over 18 can get the booster jab from a walk-in vaccination centre or book online through the National Booking Service following updates to the programme this week.

A total of 750 troops have been drafted in to support deployment of booster vaccines across the UK, while tens of thousands of volunteers have stepped up to support the national mission. Extra vaccine centres and pop-up sites have also opened to make it as easy as possible for people to get vaccinated.

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