Faith leaders back government booster drive

An NHS Covid Vaccine Centre in Wembley, London.(Photo: Getty/iStock)

Faith leaders have joined forces with the government to support the booster drive as Omicron continues to drive up Covid cases.

The government has met faith leaders to ask them to spread the message that booster shots are "critical" in the fight against Covid. 

The government's booster drive has the support of key religious leaders, including members of the Prime Minister's Places of Worship Taskforce, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Sheikh Nuru Mohammed, and the General Secretary of the Hindu Council.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: "Faith and local community leaders have played a vital role supporting the Covid-19 vaccine programme from the very beginning.

"Thank you to everyone who is uniting behind this national mission, spreading the word about the life-saving benefits of the vaccines and encouraging people to roll up their sleeves and get boosted now."

He added, "It is never too late to get your vaccine, whether it's your first, second or third. Please come forward and get protected for yourself, your family and your community."

The government accelerated its booster programme last week after Covid cases soared, fuelled by the spread of Omicron.

After getting off to a shaky start, over half of the UK adult population has now had a booster. 

The government is seeking the particular support of faith leaders from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds over ongoing concerns about a lower take-up of the vaccine within these communities.

Faith Minister Kemi Badenoch said: "More than 25 million people have already received their booster jab, helping to keep themselves, their friends and family safe this winter but we need everyone from every community to come forward to get ahead of this virus.

"This is why I have joined up with leaders from across all the major faiths to ask people of every denomination to come forward and support this huge national effort.

"Vaccines are our best defence against Omicron – I therefore urge faith communities, and everyone, to book yourself in today and join the national fight against this virus."