Mr Carnival urges people to have their Covid vaccinations

The founder of Europe’s oldest West Indian Carnival is urging people to have the Covid vaccination when it’s offered to them.

Leeds resident Arthur France MBE founded the Leeds Carnival in 1967 and is still chair of the organising committee. He had his vaccination last week at a clinic run by his local primary care network – groups of GP practices working together.

Mr France, 85, said: “For me, having the vaccine means I am protected and my family and community will be too. It means we’re one step closer to being able to meet up with friends and family again – and one step closer to being able to hold our wonderful carnival again.

“Having the vaccine is so important. I know people may have concerns about it, but it’s quick, safe and painless.  I’d urge anyone who is concerned to listen to their doctors and nurses and to trust the information from the NHS.

“Please get the vaccination when it’s offered to you – it will help us get to the other side of the pandemic.”

Dr Mo Sattar is a GP at Woodhouse Medical Practice, where Mr France received his vaccination. He said: “Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities have been disproportionately affected throughout the pandemic.

“The roll out of the vaccines gives us hope we can address this inequity – but we need communities to take part. It’s really important that anyone who has concerns uses information from reliable sources like the NHS website. If you’re still not sure, please talk to your healthcare provider when you receive your invitation to be vaccinated.”

Dr Jason Broch, Clinical Chair of NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group and GP in Leeds, said: “We’re following the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidance on the groups that should be prioritised for vaccination. When you’re eligible to have the vaccine, you will be contacted and invited to book an appointment. You don’t need to contact your GP practice – the NHS will contact you.

“GP practices across the city are working extremely hard to book patients in for their vaccine and at the same time they are continuing to deliver their wide range of services to other patients. Waiting until you’re contacted will help keep phone lines open for people who are ill or need our help.

“Even when you’ve had the vaccine, it’s important to remember to still follow the current guidance and restrictions, wash your hands regularly, try to keep to the two metre distance rule where possible and wear a face covering when you’re out, including  in health settings. This will help control the spread of the virus and save lives.”