Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has praised the work of the NHS following news that 86% of adults in London have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
More than 15.7m vaccines have been administered to Londoners, with nearly 2m doses given in the last month. Over 3.6m have received their booster and third dose.
As part of this vaccination effort, pop-up clinics, walk-in pharmacies and 24-hour ‘jab-a-thon’ sessions have been set up, with more clinics offering vaccines than at any other time during the pandemic.
Khan said: “I’m incredibly proud of the success of the vaccination programme across London.
“It has been a monumental effort to vaccinate so many Londoners in such a short period of time, and we owe the NHS a huge debt of gratitude.
“I want to pay tribute to the work of the pharmacies, vaccination centres and pop-up clinics that have helped to reach millions of people across the capital.
“With COVID-19 rates still at record levels and the NHS under pressure, it’s vital that we continue to do all we can to vaccinate Londoners and ensure that as many people as possible step forward to receive their life-saving vaccine.”
More than 200 Armed Forces personnel, 160 general duty personnel and 40 defence medics, have also been made available to support the NHS in London amid issues with staff shortages.
A report in the Guardian stated that an average of 35,596 staff were sick with COVID-19 in the past week, the highest this figure has been since the vaccine rollout began.
Jane Clegg, Regional Chief Nurse for the NHS in London, said: “We are thankful for the support of the Armed Forces alongside thousands of NHS staff, as they respond to the increased demands brought by Covid – ensuring continued high-quality care and treatment for the many Londoners being looked after by the NHS this winter.”
Khan also encouraged anyone who hasn’t had their first vaccine to book an appointment as soon as possible to help themselves, their loved ones and the NHS.
“It is never too late and you will be warmly welcomed by NHS staff. If you have any questions speak to medical professionals who will be able to explain the huge benefits of the vaccine”, he said.
The Mayor is collaborating with NHS, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities and community organisations to engage with people hesitant about the vaccine.
This has included a series of ‘Big Conversation’ community visual events which seek to tackle misinformation about the vaccine through open dialogue.
Professor Kevin Fenton, London Regional Director of Public Health, added: “I have been heartened by the immense response from Londoners in coming forward to get vaccinated to help control the current wave of Omicron infection.
“Every dose of vaccine given to an individual is a brick in our wall of protection and reduces the risk of severe disease and hospitalisation. You are up to eight times more likely to end up in hospital as a result of COVID-19 if you are unvaccinated.
As case numbers are still very high throughout the city, I urge anyone who hasn’t yet had their first dose, second dose or booster to get vaccinated as soon as possible to ensure they are protected. The evidence is clear – vaccines save lives.”
To book a vaccination appointment visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/
Photo credit: Lisa Ferdinando