Keir Starmer, Tulip Siddiq and Georgia Gould on getting the Covid vaccine and staying safe

MP Keir Starmer (top), Camden leader Georgia Gould (bottom left) and MP Tulip Siddiq (bottom right). 

MP Keir Starmer (top), Camden leader Georgia Gould (bottom left) and MP Tulip Siddiq (bottom right). - Credit: PA

Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer, Camden Council leader Georgia Gould, and Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq write about the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine, and the community's ongoing efforts to tackle the virus.  

The last year has been the toughest that many of us can remember.

Too many of us have lost loved ones before their time. Too many have watched friends and family grieve or worry for the people they love. Too many of our Black, Asian and minority ethnic residents have suffered disproportionately from the horrors of the virus and from the structural inequalities it has exacerbated.

We still have a long way to go and much work to do until we have defeated the virus and dealt with the impacts it has left on our communities. But in the past weeks, we have also seen some hope on our horizon in the form of the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine.

We’ve seen the pure relief of elderly local residents as they receive their jab. We’ve seen beaming smiles beneath masks, shoulders dropping after months of isolation and stress, and a powerful feeling that better days are coming.

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer has urged residents to support the vaccination effort - Credit: Tom Pullen

While we are seeing huge numbers of people lining up to be vaccinated, we know there are some people who have concerns and even fears about the vaccine. Please know there is clear advice available from the NHS, your local council, and medical professionals.

Both the Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNtech vaccines have been subject to rigorous testing and approval by world-leading scientists – while they have been developed quickly, no corners have been cut. We know they are safe, effective and do not contain any animal products.

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As your local MPs and your Camden Council leader, we are proud to say that, when our turn comes, we will all receive the Covid-19 vaccine and we encourage you all to do the same.

We want as many people as possible in our community to be vaccinated so they can be protected from this awful virus and we can start to see restrictions gradually lifted.

It is the only way we will beat the virus and get life back to normal.

A Brent Council worker hangs a direction sign to the NHS Covid Vaccine Centre at the Olympic Office

Directions for a vaccine centre in north London - Credit: PA

We can all help the vaccination effort – whether that’s by talking to family and friends about the importance of the vaccine, helping them find the answers to any questions they may have, or signing up as a volunteer to support the roll out.

In the meantime, we must all continue to follow public health advice to keep each other safe. This means washing hands, wearing a face covering (unless exempt), and keeping our distance.

For now, we also all need to continue to stay at home apart from for essential reasons like work, exercise and food shopping. If you feel unwell and develop a cough, temperature or lose your sense of taste or smell, you might have Covid-19. If this happens, please book a test, either online or by calling 119.

We know that not everyone is able to stay at home and we want to keep people in our community who are still going to work safe.

Camden Council has set up testing sites for people who are still going into work and you can use this service if you haven’t got symptoms. You can get the results back the same day and this testing is already helping to stop the spread in our community.

Colleen York receiving a Covid-19 vaccine at the NHS Nightingale facility at the Excel Centre, Londo

NHS staff and volunteers are working around the clock to administer the vaccine - Credit: PA

If you have symptoms and are waiting for a test result, or test positive for the virus, you and your household must all stay at home. This is crucial to prevent others from falling ill. If you need support to self-isolate, please contact the council for a variety of support. You may also be eligible for a £500 payment.

We are all finding it hard to go without seeing family and friends, especially when so many of us are having a tough time during this third lockdown. However, by avoiding social contact, we are helping to keep each other safe and healthy so we can look forward to happier times in the future.

While we might not be able to see each other in person, it is more important than ever to keep in touch with one another and look after our mental health. If you are struggling at the moment, please let someone close to you know how you are feeling and speak to your GP.

We are so proud of the way that our community in Camden has come together to keep each other safe and support one another. We will get through this. But for now, as challenging as it is, we must continue to stay at home, protect the NHS and take the vaccine when it is offered to us.

EMBARGOED TO 1700 THURSDAY JANUARY 7 Ellen Prosser, known as Nell, who is 100 years old, receives th

10 million people how now had their first Covid jab - Credit: PA

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