Southwark health officials are ‘pulling out all the stops’ in the race against the Delta variant of COVID-19 as cases sharply rise across the borough.
It is hoped a ‘vaccine surge’ across the borough can prevent the more transmissible strain of the virus, first identified in India, from taking hold.
On Tuesday, June 29, 104 confirmed new cases were reported in Southwark in 24 hours. Comparable figures have not been seen in the borough since January this year. As late as May, cases had not risen above 20 per day since March.
Alongside encouraging newly eligible adults to get jabbed, over 40s are being advised to move their second jabs forward to give them maximum immunity as quickly as possible.
Southwark Council and the NHS’ South East London Clinical Commissioning Group are focusing activity including door knocking, leafleting and pop-up vaccination events in areas with ‘relatively low vaccine take-up’ in the over 40s age bracket.
Last week letters were sent to 5,000 properties in London Bridge and West Bermondsey ward.
These were followed up by door knocks from trained vaccine champions who have been answering any questions and directing unvaccinated people to their nearest walk-in clinics, alongside handing out at-home COVID-19 testing kits.
Cllr Evelyn Akoto, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We are pulling out all the stops to make it as easy as possible for residents to learn more about the COVID-19 vaccine and where they are able to get their jab.
“In the coming days and weeks, we will be knocking on doors, speaking to residents directly and by letter, and promoting nearby vaccination clinics, so you may notice some activity in your area.
“Cases of COVID-19 are rising in Southwark, with most cases being the Delta variant.
“Two doses give much better protection against the Delta variant than one dose, so please remember to go along to your second jab.”
Those over 40 can now move their second vaccination forward to eight weeks, rather than twelve weeks, after their first dose.
The latest research has shown that a second dose gives substantially better protection compared with only one, with both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines being more than 92 per cent effective against hospitalisation and serious disease after two doses.
After only one dose, the vaccines are around 26 per cent to 40 per cent effective at reducing symptomatic disease.
Dr Heaversedge, clinical chair for NHS South East London Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Getting fully vaccinated is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves, our families and our communities against COVID-19.
“To ensure maximum protection, I urge everyone in south-east London to book in their second dose as soon as possible.
“Thanks to the incredible work of NHS staff and volunteers in London, seven out of ten adults have now received at least one dose of the vaccine, and in doing so, are helping the country as a whole beat this devastating virus.
“The offer of the vaccine is evergreen, so if you have been invited but are yet to make an appointment, please do so today and help bring us one step closer to freedom.”
The national booking system has also been amended so you can see available slots before cancelling your original appointment.
For a full and up-to-date list of vaccination clinics in all five south-east London boroughs visit https://selondonccg.nhs.uk/what-we-do/covid-19/covid-19-vaccine/pop-up-clinics