LLeaders of London’s ‘Covid Triangle’, where up to one in 15 people are believed to be infected with the coronavirus today, have called for areas to be prioritized in vaccine deployment.
East London is experiencing some of the highest Covid-19 rates in the country, as housing density, overcrowding and a large number of key residents are the ‘perfect storm’ for the new, more transmissible variant of the virus to take hold. propagates.
Barking and Dagenham remain the hardest hit with 1,569.2 cases per 100,000, followed by Newham of 1,406.3 and Redbridge with 1,381.9, according to the latest government data. Seven major vaccination centers opened in England on Monday to help boost the vaccination campaign, including one at ExCel in east London.
But Redbridge chief Jas Athwal said he would turn public buildings in his borough into vaccination centers to help speed up the vaccination program.
“Let’s spend all our money to launch the vaccine,” he said. “As the head of council, I say all public places will be free for vaccinations if we have them.
“The battle will not be won by the millions of people who go to seven sites. They must be done quickly. I know that the deployment must be fair, but we must give priority to boroughs like mine to control this virus. Teachers, healthcare workers, so many frontline staff live here. ”
Barking and Dagenham chief executive Darren Rodwell said he was running a “severely reduced” workforce with up to 40 percent of staff free of the virus in some departments and vaccinations had to be a priority.
“I would make sure that every teacher, social worker, frontline worker gets this vaccine as quickly as possible,” he said. “In areas like mine, people really rely on their advice, we are a fourth emergency department to get things done.
“We need faster deployment. We have the capacity to do it, we just need access to more vaccines.
The government said it plans to open 50 special vaccination centers, which will help hospitals and general practitioners administer at least two million injections per week, by the end of the month. Barking and Dagenham were only able to start the injections on December 15 – a week after many other parts of London received the vaccine.
Mr Rodwell added: “So far 20% of my over 80s have been vaccinated and some support staff. It is not fast enough. We were the last in London to receive the vaccine. I do not know why.
The boroughs say they have not seen massive violations of the rules, which would explain the large number of cases and infections related to housing conditions and employment of residents.
Redbridge is London’s second most crowded borough. Mr Athwal said: “We have a lot of key worker residents who have to travel to work. We are a green borough but the accommodation is overcrowded. It was the perfect storm.
Barking and Dagenham took action last year to stop illegal gatherings, closing more street and home parties than in any other borough and threatening supermarkets that do not require masks to be worn.