A Sikh couple are urging people from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities to get the Covid-19 vaccine when they are offered it by the NHS.
Ranjit and Gian Ghattaora, aged 75 and 78, received their vaccination together at the Forest Recreation Ground vaccination site when it opened on Saturday 23 January.
Ranjit, who attends the Nottingham Road and Percy Street Sikh Temple with Gian, said:
“I feel very privileged we have received our vaccines. The hard work put in by the scientists and the government to bring this vaccine to the people of our country is nothing short of incredible. Not everyone is as blessed as we are in the UK. I have many friends and family in India who will be waiting for a long time, which saddens me.
“I am actively doing all I can to encourage everyone at our temple, the Gedling Community Asian Centre, and the Punjabi Centre to book their vaccine as soon as they receive their letter. Once our communities are vaccinated we can begin seeing each other and hugging our families again. Things we all long for.”
Recent findings by the Royal Society for Public Health found just over half of people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds were likely to accept a Covid-19 vaccine. It found 57% said they would take the vaccine – compared with 79% of white people.
Dr Anup Singh, a GP at Deer Park Surgery in Wollaton and vaccinator at the new Forest Recreation Ground site, is also calling for people to get vaccinated.
Dr Singh said: “As a frontline worker I have seen almost everyone suffer by this pandemic. Whether it’s in a physical way such as worsening of their diabetes or blood pressure, or their mental health. I have spoken to countless friends, families and patients who have lost a loved one and were not able to say their final goodbyes at the bedside.
“The only way to defeat this virus is to get vaccinated. We have some of the best doctors and scientists in the world who have developed a safe and effective vaccine. What you may read on social media is untrue. My message today is get vaccinated and get protected.
“It has been a joy to work alongside some of the military, the nurses, the healthcare professionals and countless other people in the several sites across Nottingham, including The Forest Recreational Ground.
“On one side I was so happy to see the countless faces who have survived the pandemic that came to get vaccinated but also sad at the same time to hear their stories; one of which is having come out their homes for the first time in 10 months.
“We have all sacrificed so much. I urge you all in goodwill to come together and let’s defeat this global enemy together.”
A local vaccination service opened at Forest Recreation Ground on Saturday 23 January as part of the roll out of the COVID-19 national vaccination programme.
Recipients of the vaccine will be called forward in priority order as set out by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). First priority at the site is for those over the age of 75 and frontline health and social care workers.