THE CHAIRMAN of Warwick District Council has praised the local coronavirus vaccination programme after receiving his first dose.
Coun Martyn Ashford got his jab at the Heathcote Rehabilitation Hospital in Warwick.
Describing the experience, he said: “I was very encouraged by the numbers who were attending, many who will not have left their homes for many months. There were smiles on people’s faces and the atmosphere was warm and friendly. Following my vaccination, I felt fine and after a very difficult year it was a relief to be able to look forward to the possibility of meeting friends and family.”
Across the district, progress is being made with the rollout of covid vaccines, with many in the highest priority groups having already received their first dose. Among these is council staff member Marcia Watson who is also a member of the Afro-Caribbean Community Association in Leamington.
She said: “I received a text message inviting me to book my covid vaccination. I had been reluctant to even think about having the vaccine because, like many members of the West Indian community, I was brought up to only take medication when absolutely necessary.
“I glanced up from reading the message and saw my youngest son looking at me. I explained what the text said and at that point all doubt disappeared. I have two grown up sons and two grandsons and I knew that my reservations were insignificant when compared the risks of dying from the virus and no longer being part of their lives.
“The process was very simple, I simply clicked to book my appointment. On arrival at the centre, I was met by a lovely young lady who introduced me to the nurse who would be doing the vaccination. I sat down, answered a few questions and was given a pain free injection. I have had no side effects, not even a sore arm.
“The biggest thing is that I have now taken the first steps to protecting myself, my family, my friends and others that I care about. It is definitely a good feeling.”
Coun Mini Mangat, who is chair of the council’s Race Equality Group, added: “Although we know that the vast majority of people are taking up the offer of a free vaccine, we are aware that uptake within the black, Asian and ethnically diverse communities is low, be it on the back of anti-vax misinformation circulating on social media or lack of access to accurate information. As evidence shows, people within the black Asian and ethnically diverse communities are disproportionately impacted by covid-19, I would encourage everyone to receive the safe vaccine when it is offered. When it is my turn, I will definitely be taking mine.”
There have been a number of reports of email scams relating to the vaccine claiming to be from the NHS, with some soliciting for money and others phishing for personal information.
Coun Ashford added: “Scammers are using the covid vaccine rollout as a way of targeting and defrauding residents. The covid-19 vaccination is only available through the NHS to eligible groups and it is a free vaccination. I urge local people to be vigilant, the NHS will never ask for your bank details or personal details such as driving licences or passports.”