Hackney schools gear up for vaccine drive

Covid vaccination at the Biala Synagogue in Hackney

Covid vaccination at the Biala Synagogue in Hackney - Credit: JCC

Schools in Hackney are spearheading vaccine programmes to help children get their Covid jabs.

Childhood vaccination rates in Hackney have traditionally been low and the Department for Education has been trying to boost uptake.

It wanted to encourage more children to get vaccinated during the half term holiday.

Rabbi Levi Schapiro, a director of the Jewish Community Council in Stamford Hill, said schools serving the Jewish community are gearing up for a 12-week vaccination drive.

It will see them work with health professionals and parents.

Schapiro is a Covid vaccine champion in Hackney and said teenagers across the borough may be less keen on getting vaccinated because they feel it is for older people.

“A needle in the arm is not the most exciting thing,” he said.

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He added some adults across Hackney thought the vaccine was for their grandparents when the programme started.

“It all boils down to community education.”

He said: “Childhood vaccination in Hackney has a low uptake, we are expanding our work on that.”

The schools programme aims to deliver the vaccine to thousands of pupils from Hackney’s Jewish community.

There will be temporary vaccination clinics and parents are welcome to attend.

It’s all part of an effort to make vaccination “hassle-free”, so people do not have to make a special journey to the clinic at the John Scott centre or Bocking Street.

Hackney has one of the lowest vaccination rates in England, with just 29 per cent of children aged 12-15 having had the first dose – the national average is 54 pc.

Half term week saw 70 children get their first dose and 128 get their second.

The borough’s head of public health Dr Sandra Husbands said: “Vaccination provides the best protection against Covid-19 and will help prevent further disruption to the wellbeing of young people caused by absence from education and isolation from their friends and family.

“Advice and support is available locally for children and their parents to help answer any questions they have about vaccination, through the council, the NHS and outreach teams visiting schools.

“I urge everyone who is eligible, regardless of age, to get vaccinated against Covid-19."