South east London has reached a massive milestone after its millionth person received their first Covid-19 vaccination this week.
Home to just under two million people, the five boroughs have now seen 1,000,000 first doses administered and has had an uptake of 67%.
The clinical lead for the vaccination programme in south east London, Dr Andrew Parson, called it a “huge moment for us,” adding that it is essential the rollout maintains its pace.
“Reaching the milestone of one million people receiving their first vaccination is a huge moment for us. We know that the vaccines are safe and effective and help to protect people from Covid-19.
“It’s important that we don’t lose momentum now – ensuring people do attend their second vaccinations will be just as important as the first, so we’re encouraging people to continue to come forward when invited.”
Our Healthier South East London Integrated Care System (ICS), which brings together NHS statutory organisations, borough councils, general practice and other non-statutory bodies has coordinated the vaccine rollout across Bexley, Bromley, Greenwich, Lambeth, Lewisham, and Southwark.
The vaccine rollout started back in December 2020 with Lyn Wheeler, the first person in south east London and one of the first in the world to receive the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine.
The 81-year-old from Bromley met Boris Johnson after receiving her jab, and told the Prime Minister it was “all for Britain.”
Since then the rollout has gone from strength to strength, achieving 324,000 first vaccinations by the February half term with 100% of the top four priority groups offered jabs.
And there have been a number of remarkable individual stories, such as Moses Zikusoka, a single father who is now volunteering in Greenwich as a community champion following the death of his sister to Covid-19.
On behalf of the ICS, Bromley’s Borough Director and Consultant in Public Health, Dr Angela Bhan called it a “significant milestone for south east London.”
“It truly is a testament to the work of so many people including volunteers, vaccinators, NHS trusts and their staff, primary care networks, our six local authorities, the Armed Forces and St John’s Ambulance.”
“Although we have 67% uptake overall in south east London, we know that there are still a number of people feeling less confident about taking up the vaccine,” said Dr Bhan.
“As different groups of people become eligible for the vaccine there will undoubtedly be different questions and concerns, and it’s important that everyone has access to clear, accurate information so they feel confident to take up their first and second vaccine as soon as they are invited.”
She added that after finding people who had been invited and not taken the vaccine often have questions about the safety and efficacy, and pointed to their launch of the Vaccine Facts resource to provide people with ‘straight-forward answers.’