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Traders in London town with low Covid vaccine rate fear Omicron variant could hurt Christmas sales

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Tower Hamlets traders fearing Christmas trading could be hit by the spread of Covid as local vaccine uptake remains poor.

The East London borough has some of the lowest take up of the booster jab, new figures show.

Official NHS data show that people over 70 in Tower Hamlets have been the slowest in the UK to get the third dose of the coronavirus vaccine.

Although 92 per cent of over-70s offered the vaccine have taken it, just 73 per cent of Tower Hamlets residents have done so.

The government is encouraging everyone eligible to get the booster Covid-19 jab as cases continue to rise across the country.

There is also concern over the impact the new Omicron variant could have on cases this Christmas.

The town has seen a low uptake with the Covid vaccine, as well as the latest booster jab

Tower Hamlets business owners have said they are concerned about how rising cases could impact them over the busy Christmas period.

At the 150 year-old Roman Road Market in Bow, most stall owners say that they hope more people will get the third Covid jab.

Rashid, who runs a clothes stall and shop in the market, said he wouldn’t want to serve someone who hadn’t been jabbed.

He said: “Most people who come in have had both. I still need to wait but I’ll get the booster. If a customer doesn’t have the vaccine I won’t let them in.”

He added: “I’m a bit concerned about the new variant.”

Danny Sands, who runs The Victoria pub around the corner from Roman Road, said that most of his customers are vaccinated, but that the rise in Covid cases and stricter rules could hurt business.

He said: “I believe everyone should be vaccinated full stop.

“I think a lot of people who want to be vaccinated will have had it already and get the booster – and the same is true on the other side of the coin for people who don’t want it.

“I think people will hide away for this period because they don’t want to miss Christmas week.”

He added: “I think most of the people who come in, I’m fairly confident they’re not anti-vax.

“The reason Covid was so hard was because people couldn’t socialise – I think people will get vaccinated because it lets you live a normal life.”

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Another Roman Road stall owner, Stephanie Drysdale, said: “I’ve had two and I’ll get the third. Most of them that come here say that they’ve had it – I’m not sure exactly though so it’s hard to say.”

Nesma Khatun, who also runs a shop at the market, said she was concerned about the Omicron variant but that most people took precautions.

She said: “Most of them have had the vaccine – my husband has already made his appointment for the booster.

“We’re worried because of the new variant. All my customers wear masks – most of them will get the booster.”

However, not everyone at the market was convinced – one stall owner said they wouldn’t be getting the booster vaccine.

They said: “I’ve had two vaccines but I won’t get the third one, you don’t need it. It’s not the effort, it just hurt and made me ill for days.”

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https://www.mylondon.news/news/east-london-news/traders-london-town-low-covid-22390713