The NHS in London – together with the Mayor of London, Public Health England London and London Councils – has published an open letter to Londoners, asking for their support in getting the capital vaccinated. The letter is in full below.
This is a call for arms for your support in getting London vaccinated and back to doing the things we love.
The capital has been profoundly affected by Covid-19. We have seen more than 700,000 confirmed cases, and we have tragically lost more than 18,000 family members, friends, neighbours and colleagues. The virus has exacerbated health inequalities with our Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities disproportionately affected. Almost 12 months on from the first national lockdown, we remember those who are no longer with us, and pay tribute to those who have sacrificed so much in the battle against this virus.
Hope is on the horizon, and this March looks very different to last year. Soon, we could be meeting friends and families in gardens. By mid-April outdoor dining and gyms could re-open. And, by the summer, London life could return to near normal as we manage life with the coronavirus. The football matches, theatre trips, festivals and family reunions that we miss so much are in reach providing we keep infections at bay, and manage its impact on our health and care services.
This all rests on cases remaining in low numbers and on uptake of Covid-19 vaccination, which has now reached more than 22 million people in England. We’ve all played a part in helping reduce transmission of the virus, and we now need as many people as are eligible to take the vaccine. Right now, nearly 2 in 5 Londoners who are at a higher risk of serious illness and death from this virus have not come forward for the jab, despite evidence that it will save lives and get us back to the things and people we love.
We know some people have questions about vaccination, because of a lack of trust, wanting more information about long-term impact, or because of historic experience. Others want more time to understand the facts. The NHS, local councils, communities and faith groups are doing everything possible to give reassurance that the vaccines are independently tested, safe and are effective in saving lives. We are providing access to vaccination at convenient times and in more than 200 locations in the capital – from larger sites like Crystal Palace and the Science Museum, to pop-up clinics in churches and mosques, to high street pharmacies, GP surgeries and shopping centres.
We now need your help. If you are aged 50 or over, are a carer or have certain underlying health conditions you can get a vaccine now by calling 119 or booking online. We want everyone who is eligible to book an appointment without delay, so we can protect the people who need it most with the vaccine supplies available this month.
When it’s your turn, please get vaccinated. If you’ve had it already, encourage others to do the same. Direct friends and family to trusted sources of information about the vaccine at www.nhs.uk and persuade anyone with concerns to speak to their GP or a trusted health professional. Remember, it’s not too late to get protected.
Sir David Sloman, Regional Director of the NHS in London
Dr Vin Diwakar, Medical Director of the NHS in London
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
Councillor Georgia Gould, Chair, London Councils
Professor Kevin Fenton, Regional Director of Public Health England, London