Islington: 'Think carefully about how you celebrate Christmas'

A man receives his booster vaccine in Islington

A man receives his booster vaccine in Islington - Credit: Islington Council

Londoners are being asked to think very carefully about how they celebrate the festive season – and to make the vaccine the best Christmas present they can give their loved ones.

Islington’s acting director of public health Jonathan O’Sullivan said: “Whatever your current vaccination status, we all need to keep taking a few measures to help keep ourselves and our communities safe.

“I’d ask you to consider which activities you’ve planned over the festive period matter most to you. This variant of Covid-19, Omicron, is very transmissible and is now dominant across the capital.”

The government’s push to give the booster to as many people as possible by the end of the year saw “a record” 2,632 residents jabbed in Islington last Wednesday.

This followed the Prime Minister’s warning of “a tidal wave” of the variant and an extension of the booster programme, with intervals between the second vaccine and the booster reduced from six months to three.

According to the government’s latest data, just 28 per cent of residents have had a booster, or a third vaccine.

Many people are still to have first or second vaccines, which they need before they are offered the booster.

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By 15 December, 162,573 first doses of the vaccine, covering 64 per cent of eligible residents, and 146,393 second doses, covering 57 per cent, had been given to people in Islington.

However, the borough saw 815 new cases diagnosed the following day – more than double the daily figure at the start of the second wave last December.

O’Sullivan said: “We are seeing this pattern across the whole of London.”

Sadly, 397 residents have died from the virus since the pandemic began.

In northeast London, hospitals are reporting that eight out of 10 seriously ill Covid patients are unvaccinated.

O’Sullivan added: “Every dose gives you some protection against the risk of serious illness and hospitalisation from Covid-19, so if you haven’t had your first or second jab yet, now is the time to act.”

He said pregnant women are a high priority and urged them to get the jab as soon as they can.

“The vaccinations are safe in pregnancy but the virus is not, and a significant number of those admitted to hospital are unvaccinated pregnant women,” he added.

He also called for more people to help the mass vaccine effort.

Would-be volunteers can contact nhsvolunteerresponders.org.uk or uclh.volunteersdec21@nhs.net to offer their time.

Medics from University College Hospital are giving boosters to adults only at the Business Design Centre in Angel until 10 January. It is closed from 24-26 December and on New Year’s Day.

People can also get boosters at Resource for London on Holloway Road at a walk-in clinic for adults. The first and second jabs are available for those aged 12 and over. It is open from 10am to 4pm, Mondays to Saturday, but is closed between 24 December and 3 January.

King Square Community Centre in Pankhurst Terrace in Bunhill is giving boosters to adults and first and second jabs to over-16s. Flu jabs are also available. It is open between 9.30am and 5.30pm until Thursday 23 December and between 9.30am to 1pm on Christmas Eve. From Monday 27 December to Thursday 30 December, the opening hours are 10.30am to 4pm. Walk-ins can expect waits of up to two hours.

Savemain Pharmacy on Essex Road is offering vaccines without appointments and eight other pharmacies across the borough are taking bookings.

Vaccine bookings can be made via Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination – NHS (www.nhs.uk).

People who need support to make a booking can contact We Are Islington helpline on 020 7527 8222 or Minicom 020 7527 1900