Friday 25 March 2022

Local Covid-19 Update - LFT Kits, vaccines, masks

Graph from the Zoe app showing COVID rates

As we approach April, there are some key changes occurring within Tower Hamlets regarding access to local government Covid-19-related services.


Lateral Flow Kits (LFTs) are currently available free of charge, but from the 1st of April you will have to pay for them. So within the next few days either order some online from the government or pop along to an Idea Store (Bow or Whitechapel seem to be well stocked up) to pick up a pack or two. You might as well get recycle bags whilst there too! If you are a family, or care for someone who is vulnerable, then say that and they may give you more LFT kits.

Making the LFT kit last - Most of us only need to test when we are symptomatic (cold/flu-like symptoms) and if this is positive then 5-6 days later (i.e. not daily). However, if you are going near anyone vulnerable then you should test yourself each time before you go to see them. 

The council currently employs quite a big team to distribute LFT kits, supervise at testing centres (such as William's Place) and lots of mobile "blue tents" that move around the borough. These will be wound down over the next week. Make use of them whilst they are still there. And thank them for all they have done for little or no pay.


Graph showing local and national COVID vaccination rates (Government data)

Tower Hamlets has secured just under £500,000 from the government to increase vaccine uptake. Tower Hamlets has the 13th lowest first vaccine rate in the UK and the 4th lowest rate for the booster. Around 1 in 3 of our borough have yet to have their first jab (that's over 110,000 people). We are only averaging around 75 a day, with boosters double that approximately. If you have yet to have a vaccine (1st, 2nd OR booster) then you would do well to get jabbed in the next few weeks before the system becomes largely dedicated to giving a 4th dose to around seven million people nationally (ie. adults aged 75 years and over; residents in a care home for older adults; or individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed, or have weakened immune systems).

You can book your vaccine via this council webpage

Covid-19 Cases in Tower Hamlets

Covid-19 cases in our borough remain very high and are currently at  around 1 in 19. Worryingly the virus is now spreading across ALL age groups for the first time. Cases in Bow West are up by 38% in the last week.

To reduce your risk of catching Covid or developing long-Covid it is recommended you::

  1. Get fully jabbed up
  2. Avoid friends with cold or-flu-like symptoms
  3. Wear an FFP2 or FFP3 mask in confined or crowded spaces
If you do catch COVID you may be eligible for anti-viral Covid treatments (see eligibility) or want to register for the Panoramic study. You need to request these anti-viral treatments within 4-5 days of a positive test result.

Government data showing COVID rates for different age groups.

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