• Sunday, December 04, 2022

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Virtual sessions line up to encourage Londoners to get jabbed

People line up up outside the newly set up Wembley Stadium vaccination centre to receive their Covid-19 vaccine or booster at a mass vaccination event in London on December 19, 2021 (Photo by TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Chandrashekar Bhat

LONDON mayor Sadiq Khan has taken a lead in getting more people to vaccination centres as Omicron cases rise rapidly in the capital and the rest of the UK.

As part of the city administration’s drive to tackle vaccine hesitancy, the mayor unveiled a series of virtual events to encourage “open and positive conversations” among diverse communities on the safety of the jabs.

The pandemic has disproportionately impacted black and Asian communities and those living on lower incomes and Londoners from minority ethnic backgrounds have been targeted with “dangerous misinformation” on social media making them “less likely to take up the vaccine”, the mayor’s office said.

Organised in partnership with the NHS, Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) and community organisations, the sessions are designed to tackle the misinformation.

The first event, a one-hour session, is organised between 5 pm and 6 pm on Wednesday (22).

It will feature a panel including Cedi Frederick who is the chair of NHS London’s Vaccine Legacy and Health Inequalities Board and Hamish Mohammed, the national lead of sexually transmitted infection data at the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Afghanistan’s former public health lead Muhammed Haqmal, specialist pharmacist Sherifat Muhammad Kamal and GP Tehseen Khan will feature in the second session to be held from 6 pm to 7 pm on the same day.

More such ‘Big Conversation’ events are also planned for January.

The mayor said he does not want any Londoner to be left behind in the vaccine rollout, as it is “never too late” to get jabbed.

“I urge Londoners to join these sessions, to ask the questions you want answered and to take the right action to protect yourself and your loved ones this winter.”

Although Omicron cases are rising significantly in every London borough, the city continues to lead the way with the rollout of the booster jab nationally with more than 2.5m doses issued and more than 100 people in the city receiving their booster every minute.

However, more than one million eligible Londoners are yet to come forward for any Covid-19 vaccines.

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