Doctor fears another covid lockdown as vaccine take up 'wanes'

Dr Raja Amjid Riaz, Covid 19 Lead and Treasurer, and Zaffar Iqbal, Secretary, Central Mosque of Brent

Dr Raja Amjid Riaz, Covid 19 lead and treasurer, and Zaffar Iqbal, secretary, Central Mosque of Brent - Credit: Dr Raja Amjid Riaz

A doctor at the forefront of Covid protection in Willesden Green fears there may be another "winter of discontent" with another lockdown.

Dr Raja Amjid Riaz, NHS consultant and Covid 19 programme lead at the Central Mosque of Brent in Station Road, said the "impetus for getting the vaccine is waning" in the fight against the pandemic.

He said the number of Covid 19 positive cases approaching 50,000 per day and daily deaths approaching 200 is a "worrying trend".

In the last week 822 people in Brent tested positive with Covid, a rise of 163 on the previous week, 61 people were admitted to hospital and one person died, according to Public Health England.

"These are indeed very worrying times with a couple of poorly considered decisions and we may be looking at another winter Christmas of discontent and misery with another lockdown and overwhelming of the NHS.," said Dr Riaz.

"In the fight against Covid-19 the vaccine was winning but the virus has been fighting back and causing the gap". 

Brent has been significantly affected by the pandemic in the first lockdown when the borough had the highest number of deaths, infections and hospital admission.

"Recently the impetus for the  vaccination programme has been waning with little progress being made to get the very hesitant five million of the UK population to come forward," Dr Riaz added.

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"Furthermore with the closure of the pop up vaccine clinics this has limited access to the programme."

Dr Riaz said the Central Mosque of Brent was very successful pop up clinic before it closed in July.

He said his team were ready to play their part in helping the community get the vaccine.

"The local community has a palpable desire to get vaccinated but are complaining about access," he said.

"The closure of the local pop ups has affected uptake rates and this decision may backfire with increased number of cases."

He added that he’s getting ‘hundreds of calls daily from members of the local about when the Vaccine Programme was going to restart the Mosque. 

"It is very important that the current pandemic is not underestimated and is taken very seriously.

"We are not over this pandemic and there is much more hard work and potential grief in the near future if are on the back foot.

The local NHS, Brent and the local community all have important roles in the fight against coronavirus." 

In order to ensure that every child gets the opportunity to take up the vaccine, Brent's NHS vaccination team will  be operating clinics during the October half-term.

A walk in clinic in Roundwood School & Community Centre, in Longstone Avenue, Harlesden, will open on Tuesday  (October 26) from 9am to 5pm.

Children aged 12 to 17 can be vaccinated but need parental consent.

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