A HACKNEY HEALTH CENTRE shut its door early because not enough people turned up for Covid-19 vaccinations.
The Cedar Practice’s John Scott Centre in Green Lanes, Hackney N4 2NU, said that despite its catchment area covering 40 GP practices throughout the borough and the City of London, “low patient uptake” on three days last week had forced it to cut back on vaccination sessions.
Almost 50% of Hackney’s residents are non-white, according to the latest, 2011 census. Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott said the government had some responsibility for low take-up by ethnic minorities.
Abbott, a former Labour shadow cabinet member, claimed “the hostile-environment policy has partly contributed to people of colour and their worry about making themselves known to authority — even when it’s in their best interests to have the vaccine”.
The government should organise vaccination sessions in black-led churches to encourage the black community, particularly the old, she told Radio 4 news.
“I think it’s partly perhaps a certain suspicion of government [which] needs to work with institutions in this communities… it should organise vaccination sessions not just in mosques and imams but in [black] churches,” she said. “There are a lot of black-led churches in places like Hackney where, before lockdown, you’d get up to 1,000 people at a service on a Sunday.”
She added: “The government also needs to work with social-media companies to get them to take down some of this anti-vaxxer stuff.”
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi promised a renewed push “by persuasion” to improve vaccine take-up by minority groups. Otherwise, “if one particular community remains unvaccinated, the virus will seek them out and it will go through that community like wildfire”.
Hundreds of people have been vaccinated at a clinic set up by Muslim leaders in Shoreditch’s Whitechapel mosque, which says it serves the biggest Muslim community in Britain.
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