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200 join council webinar on Covid-19 vaccine as 28,000 people in the borough have now had jab

Over 200 residents joined an online webinar last night (Wednesday 17 February) to ask the Mayor and local health leaders questions about the Covid-19 vaccine.

Held virtually due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the webinar was set up to inform residents about the vaccine. The Mayor organised the event so residents could get answers to questions about the vaccine programme, including when they will be eligible, safety and effectiveness.

A panel including the council’s director of public health Somen Banerjee, Public Health England’s regional director Kevin Fenton and local GP Dr Anwara Ali MBE, answered questions on the rollout of the vaccine programme, what is contained in the vaccine, its effectiveness and the impact of Covid-19 variants on vaccines.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “We are committed to supporting the delivery of the Covid-19 vaccine programme, which is our best defence against the virus. We know for it to be a success the programme must involve community engagement, which can help everyone feel confident and willing to get vaccinated.

“Last night’s webinar, the first in a series, is just one way we are working with partners and community leaders to help residents with the vaccine.’’

Councillor Rachel Blake, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Adults. Health and Wellbeing said:

“From taking vaccine clinics into mosques and community spaces, to setting up one of the first vaccine helplines in London, we will continue to help inform and work with our residents to address concerns, enabling them to keep themselves and the community safe from Covid-19.

We are working with grassroots community organisations across the borough and reaching out to support everyone to get the vaccine.”

Additional webinars will be held, tailored for specific communities, to ensure all residents can get accessible information about the vaccine. This will include sessions for Bengali and Somali residents, with information being available in community languages.

So far over 28,000 residents in Tower Hamlets have received their first dose of the vaccine.

There is a great demand for information about the vaccine locally. The council’s vaccine helpline (020 7364 3030), set up to provide information and book appointments for eligible residents, has taken over 800 calls from residents on the Covid-19 vaccine. Call handlers, who speak eight community languages, have also made over 4,000 calls to residents as part of work to proactively book appointments for eligible residents.

All questions and answers submitted by the public for the webinar will be made available on the council website in around two weeks. Some of the common questions asked, included:


Is the vaccine safe and are there side-effects?

Is the vaccine safe to take during pregnancy and when breastfeeding / does it have any effect on fertility?


Which groups have been vaccinated to date, and what is the timeline for rolling the vaccine out to others?

What is the take-up rate in Tower Hamlets / what is being done to encourage BAME to take the vaccine?


Which vaccine is better, and can I choose which vaccine to have?

Do people who have recovered from Covid-19 still need to take the vaccine and why?

Does the vaccine protect against new variants / are the Kent and Bristol variants in Tower Hamlets?

Posted on Thursday 18th February 2021