‘Nobody should be left behind on vaccines’ says Leeds health chief

A senior Leeds City Council politician has said ‘nobody should be left behind’ when it comes to Covid-19 vaccinations in the city.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 5:43 pm

The comments come as Leeds City Council decision-makers are set to meet next week to discuss a “roadmap” to help tackle inequalities in vaccine take-up throughout Leeds.

The authority has been working alongside NHS chiefs to encourage all communities across the city to take up Covid-19 vaccinations, which include the introduction of a vaccination bus with dedicated staff, pop up vaccination teams, and women-only vaccination clinics.

Coun Salma Arif, the authority’s executive member for public health, believes as many people as possible need to be vaccinated in order for Leeds to safely continue the easing of lockdown restrictions continues.

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Salma Arif wants to encourage as many as possible to get the vaccine.

She said: “We strongly believe that no one should be left behind in our city and we are doing all we can to ensure no community is unfairly affected irrespective of colour or religious belief.

“We want to hear from you if you are not sure about getting the vaccine or if there is something stopping you from getting vaccinated. Getting as many people vaccinated as possible is our best route out of lockdown; and will help us return to seeing more of our family and friends and doing the activities we enjoy.”

The vaccine inequality “roadmap” in Leeds was published today ahead of the council’s main decision making executive board meeting next week.

Leeds City Council said the approach is focussed on reaching those most at risk of severe illness and death from Covid-19.

Groups of GPs are working together with local communities to deliver the vaccine in local venues which are known to local people and easily accessible.

A statement from the council added: “Conversations are also taking place with people who are hesitant or have refused the vaccine to build confidence and provide facts and information on the benefits.

“A roving vaccine programme has been created which includes a vaccination bus with dedicated staff, pop up facilities suitable for churches or community centres and on-foot vaccination teams. Women only vaccination clinics are also being offered.

“The council is working with over 50 organisations across the city to make the vaccine as accessible as possible, targeting those people who may face barriers to accessing the vaccine including sex workers, the homeless and drug users.”

It added that plans have been created to help tackle low uptake in certain areas by working with local community champions, third sector organisations and faith leaders – these include door-knocking and speaking to people on their doorsteps.