Residents who have had their Covid-19 vaccine are being asked to help save more lives by sharing their story with others to encourage vaccine take-up.
Studies have shown that the Covid-19 vaccines can both reduce the risk of serious illness and death from Covid-19, along with transmission to others. Along with testing, mass vaccinations are also one of the core ways to avoid future lockdowns.
However, some people are hesitant about taking the vaccine, so Tower Hamlets Council and the NHS have launched a new #Ihadmyjab campaign to ask people to take a photo and share it on social media using #Ihadmyjab. They can also add a reason as to why they have taken it along with sharing the news with family and friends through word of mouth.
The campaign is in addition to other work the council and NHS has been doing to encourage vaccine take-up. This includes making vaccines more accessible through roadshows and mobile vaccination centres at venues including the East London Mosque; and giving the facts about the vaccine to residents so they can make informed decisions based on expert advice. This is being done through public information campaigns, the council and NHS websites, and through a series of webinars. The council also has a vaccination helpline where those called for jabs can discuss any questions they have.
So far in Tower Hamlets, over 77,000 people have received their first dose of vaccine, however, there are more eligible residents yet to take up their vaccine.
Local feedback including from the council's Covid-19 champion network shows that word of mouth and personal stories are strong motivators for others to take up vaccination which is why the #Ihadmyjab campaign has been created.
Councillor Rachel Blake, Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing said:
"People are already helping to save lives by having the vaccine, but we can save even more by encouraging others to have it through the #ihadmyjab campaign.
"Sadly, social media has been a way that misinformation has been spread about the vaccines. This campaign will use social media as a platform to share first-hand stories about our community getting the vaccine.
"If people are not on social media then word of mouth is just as important. We're urging everyone to share their vaccine story and help save more lives – we really can't downplay the impact of getting vaccinated.
"This campaign will run alongside our vaccine roadshows and Covid-19 Champions who talk to people about the vaccine and answer any questions they have, as well as our community clinics being held in mosques and other community venues to make the vaccine more accessible."
In partnership with the GP Care Group, the borough recently opened a new vaccine centre at the Arts Pavilion in Mile End, which has capacity to vaccinate up to 10,000 residents every week.
Chris Banks, Joint Chief Executive of Tower Hamlets GP Care Group representing General Practices in Tower Hamlets said:
"We urge people to join this campaign, to get themselves jabbed and to encourage their families, friends and work colleagues to do the same. The vaccines are very effective and ultimately are the best way to get our lives back to normal.
"The local primary care vaccination centres at the Arts Pavilion in Mile End Park, and Cable Street Surgery, the community pharmacies in St Paul's Way and Chrisp Street, and the mass vaccination sites at Excel and Westfield in Newham have already given nearly 75,000 Tower Hamlets residents their first dose, and over 6,000 have had their second dose"
"They've all had the jab. Don't miss out. Protect yourself and your loved ones. Have the jab."
The council's dedicated vaccine helpline - 020 7364 3030 - supports eligible residents in booking their appointment and providing information to address any concerns about the vaccine. The helpline is staffed with a team that speaks eight community languages, to support anyone who may face barriers in booking an appointment, whether due to digital exclusion or because English is not their first language.
Everyone has a part to play in keeping themselves, their family and friends, and the wider community safe.