'Covid is not over' Hackney health chief warns residents

The corona testing site in Stoke Newington town hall

The corona testing site in Stoke Newington town hall - Credit: LDRS

“The pandemic has not gone away”, Hackney’s head of public health warned as she urged people to renew their vigilance to avoid getting Covid.

The number of cases in Hackney has increased by nearly a quarter over the last week and workplaces including Homerton Hospital have been hit by staff sickness.

Over the last seven days, 1,740 Hackney residents and their neighbours in the City of London have reported the two lines on their Covid test that mean they have the virus.

Across London, the R rate is between 1.1 and 1.4, which means that every 10 people will infect on average another 10 to 14 others. When the R rate drops below one, the pandemic is waning.

Covid has claimed the lives of 551 Hackney and City of London residents within 28 days of a positive test – five of them within the last five days.

Free tests will end for most people on April 1, and the council is closing its test centres in Stoke Newington, Dalston, Hackney Central, Homerton and Stamford Hill.

Dr Sandra Husbands, Hackney’s director of public health, said: “Although vaccines have made it possible for us to think about living with Covid, the pandemic hasn’t gone away.”

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Hackney still has one of the lowest numbers of people who are fully vaccinated from Covid, despite evidence that most seriously ill people in hospital have not had all their jabs.

According to the latest NHS figures, just one person had their first vaccine in City and Hackney on 27 March, with 15 people getting a second jab and eight people getting a booster or third vaccine.

Overall, 64 per cent of people in  Hackney and the City of London have had one vaccine, whilst 59 per cent have had two. Just 40 per cent have had all three vaccines.

A fourth vaccine is now being offered to over-75s and other vulnerable groups.

People over the age of 12 and vulnerable children over five can get their vaccines at vaccination centres, pharmacies and pop-up clinics.

They include the Bocking Street vaccine centre, St Leonard’s Hospital and the John Scott Health Centre in Woodberry Down.

There are also pop-up events, with the Spring Hill Practice vaccinating people every Sunday until May 1.

Other pop-ups include an event on Tuesday, April 12 at the Halkevi Centre on Dalston Lane, with Turkish and Kurdish translators on hand, and a vaccine day at the Blue Hut Youth and Community Hub on Provost Street on Thursday April, 14. 

Call the vaccine helpline on 07706 735 915 to discuss any concerns.

Details of vaccine centres and more pop up events are available at  hackney.gov.uk/coronavirus-vaccine.