Sadiq Khan reassures people 'vaccine is safe' during Kingsbury temple visit

Sadiq Khan visits Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury,

Dr Mahesh Varsani, a trustee of the Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury, London mayor Sadiq Khan and deputy mayor for business, Rajesh Agrawal. - Credit: Mayor of London

The Mayor of London dropped into a Kingsbury temple to see its work vaccinating locals.

Sadiq Khan visited Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury (SSMK), on Kingsbury Road, on February 4.

Volunteers started issuing jabs in the temple's multi-function hall on January 28, with ambitions to serve more than 1,300 people each day.

It is taking bookings from anyone over 70 years old who has not yet been vaccinated and inviting those over 65 to join the stand-by list.

Sadiq Khan at Kingsbury vaccination centre

Sadiq Khan with patient and nurse at Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury - Credit: Mayor of London

One million Londoners are believed to have had their first vaccine.

Mr Khan said: “I’m really pleased to have visited Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury today - the first Hindu temple in Europe to be a vaccination centre - to see the work being done to vaccinate Londoners against coronavirus.

“My message to those Londoners who are hesitant about having a Covid-19 vaccine is that it is safe, it has been thoroughly tested to meet the very highest standards, it works and will save lives.

“I strongly encourage all Londoners who are offered the vaccine to have it, so that they can protect themselves from becoming seriously ill, and to protect our NHS.”

Sadiq Khan in Kingsbury

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan visits vaccination centre in Shree Swaminarayan Mandir Kingsbury - Credit: Mayor of London

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SSMK Trustee and immunologist, Dr Mahesh Varsani, said: "Since the opening on January 28, more than 3,500 people have received the vaccine.

"This was the pivotal step for these people’s lives to return to some kind of normality, even though this may still be some time away.

"All facets of society - nationalities, faiths, denominations, cultures - have come over these past few days for their vaccinations. We are proud that their experiences have been wholly positive and encouraging." 

He added: "By carrying out this endeavour, we hope to help dispel myths surrounding the vaccine and boost uptake amongst the BAME community who have unfortunately been affected by the pandemic in the UK more than other communities.

"We believe that it is vital that we help communicate facts not fear, and dispel myths that are targeted to these communities.

"In order to win the fight against the pandemic, we feel that it is our duty to try and bring everyone onto this journey."