Over 52,000 vaccinated in Hackney: Coronavirus update from Dr Husbands
Dr Sandra Husbands has been a doctor for 33 years and is currently the Director of Public Health for Hackney and the City of London. Here she gives an update on the vaccine rollout in Hackney.
Over 23 million people across the UK have now safely received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including over 52,000 people in Hackney.
I know some people want to have more facts on the vaccine before they decide to take it, which is absolutely fine. That is why last week we sent a booklet to all homes with answers to some of the most common questions on the vaccine and information on how to book and attend your appointment.
I also know that some people will be worried about the recent news stories involving the AstraZeneca vaccine, which some people thought may have been linked to cases of blood clots in Norway and Denmark. To date there have been less than 40 reports of blood clots in the over 17 million people who have received this vaccine in Europe and the UK, which the World Health Organisation (WHO) says is actually less than the number of episodes of blood clots that would normally be expected in the population - that is to say, this is most likely a coincidence.
In the UK alone over 11 million people have safely received the Astrazeneca vaccine with side effects being reported regularly to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). Up to 28 February, the MHRA had had no more reports of blood clots associated with the vaccine than they would have expected to occur in the population. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has also reviewed the situation, and say benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks. Along with the MHRA, both the WHO and the EMA have said there is no indication that the vaccine was actually causing the blood clots.
The fact is, the vaccines are safe, they have been through rigorous medical trials and have already been administered safely to millions worldwide from all different backgrounds. If people are concerned about the safety of the coronavirus vaccines, they can find information about their safety on the NHS website and the council website - among other credible sources- to make sure that they have good information to help make up their minds about taking it. If they’re still concerned, they should try to discuss it with their GP.
Thankfully, we now have the vaccination programme to help us get out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government roadmap setting out the cautious steps towards a return to some sort of normality. However, being able to open up the country again depends on the actions we all take to keep the numbers of Coronavirus infections down.
The government has stressed that the timetable for when we can start to see our loved ones again is based on the data not fixed dates. Our behaviour has a direct impact on that, so I want to encourage everyone to do their bit. When you are offered the vaccine please book your appointment right away, get tested regularly for COVID-19 at one of Hackney’s four rapid test centres and keep practising ‘hands, face, space’ - including keeping 2m away from those you do not live with. If we each do all this then, hopefully, by 21 June all the restrictions on social contact will be lifted.