Dear TRA Chairs, VCS partners and Community Health Ambassadors,
I wish that our only focus was on spreading festive cheer in our communities at this time, but unfortunately we remain very much in the grip of a dangerous pandemic. You will have seen that cases are rising incredibly fast in London, and this week in Southwark our rates have risen alarmingly to 1,494 per 100,000 – the third highest rate in the country. This is a really worrying number, and is a much higher rate when we went into Tier 4 restrictions this time last year.
As we await a potential update from the Government on further restrictions, I do need to appeal to all our communities to avoid meeting in groups face to face wherever possible. I believe it’s the only way we are going to slow the speed of the virus spreading, and therefore protect local people and the NHS.
The vaccine does provide protection, and it’s important that residents continue to come forward for their 1st, 2nd or booster dose, but we know that in some parts of the borough, 40% of residents have not had a single vaccine.
I am asking for your help, therefore, in helping get the word out to residents that they should come forward for whichever vaccine they are eligible for now, to help protect them and their families. You can do this by:
- Sharing the below 1,2,3 campaign on social media and your local Whatsapp groups
- Promote local enhanced provision in or close to your wards . These include extended opening hours at Tessa Jowell, the Artesian, and at various approved pharmacies across the borough – you can find the up to date details here
- Helping to publicise the extended offer in Peckham this week. The below leaflet gives details of a walk in at the Lister Centre on Monday/Tuesday but we are hopeful that this will extend into Wednesday/Thursday. Please share the attached graphic and this web link which will be updated if the offer is extended: https://www.southwark.gov.uk/news/2021/dec/extra-vaccine-clinics-in-peckham-20-to-24-december
In addition to the vaccine we are promoting cautious behaviours to help reduce the rise in Covid-19 rates locally. We are asking all our community leaders to avoid face to face meetings or gatherings with groups of residents, move events online wherever possible, and to follow the following advice:
- Take a rapid lateral flow test before meeting with family and friends or going to busy public places
- Wash hands regularly and wear face coverings in public places including community centres and faith premises
- Self-isolate if positive. There is financial support available for this.
- Stay at home if unwell, to reduce the risk of passing on other illnesses onto friends, family, colleagues, and others in your community
- Meet family and friends in well-ventilated areas where possible, such as outdoors or indoors with windows open. You are at a higher risk if you are in an enclosed or crowded space, or there is limited fresh air.
- Download the NHS COVID-19 app. Keep your Bluetooth and contact tracing on to stay informed in case you come into contact with a positive case.
The current rates and restrictions will alarm and concern some our residents, especially those who are more vulnerable and those who were previously shielding. Please do remind them of the support on offer to them, as we all help our residents through another difficult period.
Officers across the council, alongside our NHS colleagues, are working extremely hard to try to keep residents safe and I know you will be too. Thank you for your ongoing support.
Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.
Cllr Evelyn Akoto
Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing