Health staff are getting on the road to deliver vaccines

Greenwich Council can help set up pop-up vaccination clinics to make sure all sections of the community have access to a Covid-19 jab, a senior councillor has said.

Finance cabinet member Linda Perks, who has been working on the vaccination programme for the council, appealed for community groups to get in touch as the rollout of jabs slows to allow for supply problems over the coming weeks.

The most recent available figures show that 35 per cent of Greenwich borough residents had at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccination by 21 March – with 87 per cent of over-75s having had one jab as of the same date.

Even 17 per cent of under-50s have been vaccinated – the ninth highest percentage of London’s 32 boroughs.

But there have been concerns about whether people from minority ethnic communities are getting jabs. Updated local breakdowns are not routinely made public, but earlier this month a council meeting heard that just 45 per cent of people from black African backgrounds over 65 or considered extremely vulnerable had been given a jab.

With vaccine supplies due to slow this month, health bosses are concentrating their efforts on second doses and catching up with those who have been missed out.

“We’re spending the next four weeks to be able to make sure that people get their second dose on time, which they will, and also to do what we can to make contact with those parts of our community that have not been coming forward, either because they’ve been finding it difficult to access the vaccination programme or because they’re hesitant,” Perks said at Wednesday night’s council meeting. (watch from 42.30)

“There’s some really great work going on with that and we can now do pop-up clinics – we run a pop up clinic with the Nepalese temple and the Sikh temple and we’re arranging more with mosques and churches because we’re finding it’s a very good way to reach out to communities that we have struggled to get to through our other links.”

Perks added: “If there’s anybody watching us now who would like to make contact with us to arrange a pop-up clinic for some of their local people – they may be worshippers at a church, they may be attending a community centre – then we would be very interested in setting up a pop-up clinic. We’d need to talk to you about the arrangements but we should be able to arrange something.”

Any group interested in hosting a clinic can contact her directly through the council, Perks said.

Asked by the Conservative leader Nigel Fletcher for an update on the local vaccination programme, Miranda Williams, the cabinet member for health and social care, said progress had been “phenomenal”.

“All of the staff, the volunteer vaccinators and the volunteers marshalling people – it’s safe to say we wouldn’t be administering as many vaccines as we have been if it wasn’t for residents who have stepped up to help deliver the programme,” she said.

Williams added that it was “vitally important” that residents took part in the mass testing programme happening across the borough, with twice-weekly tests recommended for families with children at school. Test kits can now be collected from centres and taken home.

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