For Jewish News March 21 2021
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has described a Hatzola pop-up vaccine centre in the heart of the Orthodox Jewish community as “a game changer and a life-saver”.
Speaking to Jewish News on Sunday after visiting the John Scott centre in Hackney’s Green Lanes, the mayor said: “I have been very concerned about the fact that the infection rates [of coronavirus] in the Orthodox Jewish community were incredibly high. What’s fantastic about today is Hatzola — who are so well respected in the local community — have been working with the NHS and Hackney Council, encouraging a vaccine take-up. This is the third week of a specific clinic focused on Orthodox Jewish Londoners, and it’s brilliant news.”
Mr Khan said that about 300 people had arrived at the centre to receive the Astra-Zeneca vaccine, administered by a combination of NHS staff and trained Hatzola volunteers. Those eligible were people in the 50+ age group, together with carers. The mayor said that the aim was “to take the vaccine to where people are. This kind of clinic gives people confidence, because they are getting the vaccines from people they trust.”
Hatzola, the mayor said, would continue to run the pop-up clinics “for as long as they are needed”, though he believed it might be necessary to have different ways of attracting younger people to get vaccinated.
He was also encouraged, he said, by the fact that it wasn’t just Orthodox Jews who were benefiting from the vaccine drive. “At least one local Muslim resident turned up to be vaccinated by a green-t-shirted Hatzola volunteer — more proof that we are all in this together”.