Local health professionals have described their own experiences of having and giving Covid vaccines in a session held via Zoom organised by Healthwatch Reading and ACRE, the local race equality body.
Ida Osei, a pharmacist who works at Tilehurst Surgery, told the sesison she grew up in Africa and could understand how past experiences might make people reluctant. But she urged Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people to consider the greater risk of illness from Covid-19 compared with non-BAME people.
"I've had my vaccine. I had it as soon as I was offered it without any reservations. It protects us, it protects the rest of the community, but also because our risk of serious illness is higher [for BAME people], there is no reasons why we shouldn't have the vaccine."
Ida Osei, clinical pharmacist (pictured left)
Kim Frewin, the lead nurse for the Reading Central vaccination hub being run at Watlington House, and a nurse practitioner at Pembroke Surgery, also told the Zoom session that she had personally vaccinated a range of people with known allergies who had been safe.
People could also take the vaccine if they were on long-term medications or blood thinners, she added.
"There's plenty of opportunities for people to go through any queries or raise any concerns. We're there to look after you, ourselves and our families. We're following the guidelines and the best advice."
Nurse practitioner Kim Frewin (pictured right)
Our chief executive, Mandeep Kaur Bains, also told the session that Healthwatch Reading could help anyone not registered with a GP to sign up, so they could get put on the vaccine list. This includes homeless people and asylum seekers (who don't have to declare their immigration status to surgeries).