Tower Hamlets residents who are eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine will now be supported to book their appointment through a new council helpline - 020 7364 3030.
The helpline, staffed with call handlers who can speak community languages, will work to ensure eligible residents, including those who are digitally excluded and vulnerable, all get Covid-19 vaccine appointments.
The team will both proactively call residents who have been contacted about being vaccinated but not yet booked their appointment and answer incoming calls from eligible residents who want to book their appointment or ask questions. This includes where vaccine centres are in the borough and how people can travel to their appointments.
Call handlers have also been trained by the council's public health team to support anyone experiencing vaccine hesitancy and provide factual information to address any concerns.
The helpline will run alongside the council's existing Covid-19 support line, set up back in March 2020. So far the helpline has directly helped over 14,000 residents and continues to support vulnerable residents and those self-isolating around food and medication, applying for Covid-19 support payments and financial concerns and any mental health and wellbeing issues, including social isolation.
The helpline is supported by, and linked to, GP practices in Tower Hamlets so that the helpline can directly book local appointments for residents.
John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: "Making sure everyone in our community are able to book their appointments and access information about the vaccine is vital. This is one of the first vaccine helplines in London and will ensure even the most vulnerable don't fall through the gaps.
"If you are one of the groups eligible for vaccination, currently anyone aged 70 and over and the clinically extremely vulnerable, please book your appointment or call the helpline for advice. We all have a part to play in keeping ourselves and the wider community safe."
Although the Covid-19 vaccine programme is being rolled out in phases, with groups becoming eligible based on their risk, everyone should 'be ready' to receive their vaccine. All residents are being encouraged to read about the vaccine if they have any concerns so when it is their turn, they are confident in taking up the offer of vaccination. Remember:
- All Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective, take the vaccine you are offered.
- None of the Covid-19 vaccines contain any egg or animal product, and are vegan, halal and kosher. The vaccines only contain medication – nothing else.
- Vaccines are our best protection against Covid-19 and our route back to a normal way of life.
- We all have a part to play to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Be ready to get your vaccine.
- Covid-19 is still among us and infectious. The risk of catching Covid-19 is the same as ever for people who are not vaccinated. This is why following the rules and public health measures continue to be vitally important. These include washing hands regularly, wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces and keeping a safe distance from other people.
Tracy Cannell, Joint Chief Executive for Tower Hamlets GP Care Group, said: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with the council to make sure that all residents are supported to receive their vaccine as soon as they are eligible."
The vaccine helpline is currently only for those who are eligible for vaccination. Residents who want to find out more about the vaccine, and will be eligible in coming months, can read about the vaccine on the council website www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/vaccine.
Visit the Tower Hamlets COVID-19 Helpline