Sadiq Khan urges community to get jab as deputy warns
Sadiq Khan has urged members of the Jewish community who are “not vaccinated at all” against Covid to get jabbed after declaring a “major incident” in London owing to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
The Mayor of London made his appeal on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show after the presenter asked him what more could be done to halt the rise of Omicron, with the capital being the epicentre of the outbreak.
Khan said work was being done with the Black, Jewish, Muslim and with the East European communities in London to try to improve the uptake of the vaccines – including giving people the first two jabs along with the booster injection.
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Responding to the Mayor’s comments at the Board of Deputies’ Plenary meeting on Sunday, Denise Lester, the representative for South Hampstead Synagogue, called for the Board to “take the lead in reaching out, particularly to the Charedi community” over the need for vaccines.
Lester, who is a family solicitor, added: “In Hackney, I can say to you from my professional working life, that the Omicron variant is rife.”
In London hospitals are seeing a steep increase in the number of staff off sick due to the rise in those with Covid-19.
The Mayor has called for the Government to implement tougher measures in the days ahead to combat the spread of Omicron.
Last week Minister for Equalities Kemi Badenoch also made an appeal for communities across the UK to have the booster jab in a letter that was signed by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis.
The Minister wrote: “If you have yet to get your first or second dose, it’s never too late – vaccines reduce hospitalisations and deaths.
“Please come forward and get the vital protection you need. ”
Jewish News understands that that Department of Health have also made approaches to groups within the Stamford Hill Charedi community offering them financial support to encourage more people to have the vaccine.
One issue that has emerged is concern amongst young pregnant females in the community over the impact of the jabs.
With the demographic of some Charedi communities now younger than elsewhere in society, the impact of opposition to the vaccine, particularly amongst pregnant women, become apparent in official data.
Other communal insiders insisted the Charedi community had responded well to calls for uptake of the booster jab in recent days.
While there was a significant infection rate in Hackney, they disputed Lester’s claim that Omicron was “rife.”
There is no scientific evidence that Covid jabs can cause issues during pregnancy.