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Starmer urges BAME residents to get Covid-19 jab during vaccination centre visit

Holborn and St Pancras MP says those who have had vaccine are best to encourage others

05 February, 2021 — By Harry Taylor

Labour leader with Dr Alex Warner at the Peckwater vaccination centres on Friday

SIR Keir Starmer joined the chorus of voices urging people from a Black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds to get the Covid-19 jab during a visit to the Peckwater vaccination centre this morning (Friday).

The Holborn and St Pancras MP had a tour of the centre based within the Caversham Group Practice in Peckwater Street as the UK works towards vaccinating 15 million people by the middle of the month.

Patients were turning up to get their first jab in the midst of the UK’s second widespread national lockdown.

Concerns have been raised about the amount of BAME people getting the jab.

Figures circulated last week showed that the rates among black residents aged over 70 is just 28 per cent, compared to 64 per cent among white residents of the same age.

A meeting on Tuesday night for London’s Bangladeshi community, which has been hard hit by the pandemic, saw calls for them to be given a higher priority for the vaccine.

The Labour leader said that the groups in the 1-4 brackets should be vaccinated first and that it looked likely the vaccination target of February 15 would be met.

He repeated Labour’s policy of getting teachers and school staff vaccinated over half term this month to allow schools to reopen.

In terms of BAME residents, he said: “There maybe other arguments to be had. In the end what we all want to see is as many people getting through the vaccination system as quickly as possible. Most centres are saying to me they could do more. It’s not a question of rationing supplies, it’s making sure they’re there and we can get people through and the quicker we can do that the better.

Mr Starmer added: “I am concerned that everyone should have the confidence to get the vaccination. I understand it’s harder to get that message through and we all need to redouble our efforts. This morning, a Caribbean gentlemen came in and wanted to be filmed getting his vaccine so he could show them.

“One of the most persuasive things is to show people what’s happening rather than talk them through it. We all need to do our bit for the sake of them, their family and their friends.”

He said that an effective way was getting people who had had the jab to tell friends and colleagues to get the vaccine.

“There are known ways of communicating into our estates, let’s use that, and encourage people to use social media,” said Mr Starmer said.

“The most important thing is for people to give confidence to each other, so that the more people that come through here, and go back into Peckwater or wherever it may be, and tell others, the better.”

Mr Starmer, who lives in Kentish Town, had also visited a vaccine centre at the Francis Crick Institute – The Crick – in Somers Town and said the tour and seeing people get the jab had been an uplifting experience for him and others.

“What you see is people coming up, often anxious looking on the way in, and then people are getting vaccinated and they’ve got huge smiles as they come out,” he said.

“It’s fantastic to see, it’s genuinely uplifting to see this in operation. It’s uplifting to for the people getting vaccinated, the staff and everybody involved.”

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