Sadiq Khan has received his first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and urged members of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities to follow suit, declaring: “I wouldn’t be taking the jab if I didn’t think it was safe.”
The London mayor received a COVID-19 jab on Friday morning at a vaccine centre located inside a church in southwest London.
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Love that as a Mayor of Islamic faith, I received my COVID vaccine at a local church, from Reverend Dr Sue Clarke, who came out of retirement to volunteer as a vaccinator.
This is London: our diversity is our strength. pic.twitter.com/ApMgBeOLbF
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) February 19, 2021
Mr Khan was asked by his GP to get a vaccine in the current phase of the rollout because of his severe asthma.
Describing how it felt to receive a jab, Mr Khan told Sky News he was “delighted, relieved and incredibly grateful”.
“My message is very simple: when you’re invited to receive the jab, please say yes,” he said.
The London mayor added: “I wouldn’t be taking the jab if I didn’t think it was safe.”
Asked about vaccine hesitancy among some communities, Mr Khan urged them to “speak to people you trust” about the vaccine – “your GP, your pharmacist, your local vicar or imam or your rabbi”.
He continued: “Because they will tell you this vaccine is safe, it’s gone through a robust regulatory system, it’s been properly tested and it will save millions and millions of lives.”
Mr Khan was wearing a badge to say he had had a COVID jab during his Sky News interview – and said he was displaying it “really, really proudly”.
“Just for the avoidance of doubt, I didn’t wince when I had the jab. I was a real brave boy,” he joked.
Discussing the coronavirus situation in general, Mr Khan said the government should scrap the regional tiers system as England comes out of lockdown.
The system “does not work” and has been a “failure”, he asserted.
Mr Khan also called on the government to provide more support to businesses “during this difficult time”, including extending business rates relief, the cut in VAT and the furlough scheme.
“It’s really important we don’t prematurely come out of lockdown which means a further lockdown,” he said.
“This must, must be the last lockdown we have.”