Online Q&A session tomorrow about vaccinations

Barking and Dagenham Council leader Darren Rodwell says the support for Labour from the borough in t

Council leader Darren Rodwell says vaccines have been rigorously tested to ensure their safety and they offer very good protection against the illness - Credit: Andrew Brookes

The vaccine rollout in Barking and Dagenham has picked up pace in recent weeks, with nearly all residents over the age of 70 offered a jab (if you are aged 70 or over and are yet to get an appointment, contact your GP to arrange one).

This has been a massive effort on the part of the NHS, working in partnership with the local authority and volunteers. It has been wonderful to see pictures of people patiently and safely queuing to get their vaccine at sites around the borough.

The Broadway Theatre has been repurposed as an accessible large-scale vaccination centre and has been a real boost to rollout efforts. Another large-scale centre is set to open soon in Dagenham at the old May & Bakers site and I look forward to seeing pictures of many more people getting their vaccine there.

I understand that some of you might be anxious about getting the vaccine, but you should take comfort from the fact many thousands of people in Barking and Dagenham have been vaccinated so far, along with millions more across the UK. Very few people experience side-effects, and those that do mostly get very mild effects common to most vaccines.

The vaccines have been rigorously tested to ensure their safety and they offer very good protection against the illness.

If you do still have any questions at all about the vaccine and its rollout, the council, GPs Federation and the CCG are hosting an online session tomorrow (Thursday, February 18) from 7pm. Information can be found at

I want to thank residents and businesses for following the lockdown rules and I encourage you to keep it up. I also want to give my thanks to places of worship who have voluntarily closed their doors for communal worship, recognising that it was the
safest thing to do while rates of coronavirus were so high in our borough.

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These efforts have helped bring cases down significantly - but they are still many times higher than they were last summer so, for now, we have to keep going.

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