Stamford Hill group works to make Covid vaccination 'hassle free' for Jewish orthodox residents

268 people have contracted measles in Hackney in six months. Picture: PA Archive

The Jewish Community Council helps support vaccination among orthodox communities in Hackney. - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

Stamford Hill's Jewish Community Council has undertaken a major project to help spread awareness and encourage uptake of the Covid vaccine among the area's strictly orthodox Jewish community. 

Rabbi Levi Schapiro of the community council says the work is important in helping support young people who are now able to receive the vaccine, while ensuring health messages are communicated to a "large chunk" of the community without access to the internet.

Rabbi Schapiro said: "The focus of this project is to enable young people from the strictly orthodox Jewish community to receive their vaccine hassle free.

"If they are unable to book or they are missing any relevant information, or if there may be a language barrier, our trained staff will be available to assist them and ensure they are able to receive appointments for the jabs.

JCC volunteers distribute food.

The Jewish Community Council has also organised food drives, helping hundreds of Jewish and non-Jewish families during the pandemic.  - Credit: JCC

"This also applies to frequent lateral flow testing which we have now made available in some of the local major synagogues and Kosher supermarkets where anyone can simply request a testing kit for free."

While the Rabbi reports that the majority of the older population in the community have already received one or both jabs, the NHS vaccine programme has just opened up for young people aged 18 and over.

Over the next few weeks, the project plans to continue running adverts in Yiddish and Hebrew to help spread awareness about the latest information on vaccine availability and to help promote vaccine updates within the community.

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"Nobody should have any second thoughts when they need to book any appointments," said Rabbi Schapiro. 

He was also keen to announce that Stamford Hill's Rookwood Road Covid test site has become a walk in centre from today (June 25). 

Adding: "The problem is that a very large chunk in the community, the strictly orthodox Haredi community, don’t have access to the internet. We are quite restricted and that itself makes it very hard for the community to access testing."

The Rabbi says the major test centre has rarely been used as many residents are not able to book a test online. 

But he says, following work with the council and NHS Track and Trace anyone can walk-in for a test from 8am to 8pm seven days a week, free of charge. 

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