COMMUNITY volunteers and public sector staff are going door-to-door in Bury to encourage residents to get their Covid vaccination and get tested.

Health chiefs are concerned at the recent increase in infection rates and want to ensure that everyone in the eligible cohorts has had every opportunity to have the vaccine as quickly as possible.

Thousands of households across the whole borough will be visited, starting this week in the Bury East areas of Springs, Pimhole, Fernhill and Buckley Wells.

Helping to drive home the message will be ad vans touring the borough, and three walk-up vaccination centres to give people their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine will be set up on the following days:

Saturday 5 June – Noor Ul Islam Mosque, Yarwood Street, Bury from 12pm to 7pm.

Saturday 5 June - Prestwich Walk-in Centre, Fairfax Road, Prestwich from 2pm to 5.30pm.

Sunday 6 June - Elizabethan Suite, Knowsley Street, Bury from 8.30am to 6pm.

If you are unsure whether you fall into an eligible group, you can attend a centre and staff will advise you.

Councillor Andrea Simpson, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “We’re making tremendous progress on getting Bury people vaccinated, with around 113,000 residents having had their first jab and 77,000 who have received their second dose.

“However, there are still a number of people who, for a number of reasons, have not taken up their invitation. We want to take the message right to people’s doorsteps that having this vaccination will protect you, your families and friends from this potentially fatal illness – remember, more than 500 Bury people have died from coronavirus, and many more have become seriously unwell.

“Our teams will also be reminding everyone of the importance of testing and taking the right measures, such as self-isolation, when necessary.”

The door-knocking campaign is being carried out by staff from Bury Council, NHS Bury CCG and Six Town Housing, plus volunteers from ADAB, Bury Asian Women’s Centre and the borough’s Community Hubs.

Lesley Jones, Bury’s director of public health, said: “The Covid-19 vaccine is safe, and it works. "Having two doses will protect you, your family, your colleagues and friends. It contains no ingredients of animal or human origin; it does not change your DNA or make you infertile; and nor does it inject a microchip into your body.”

She added: “Infection rates have risen recently in Bury, driven by the new more transmissible and dominant Delta variant (first identified in India), plus the easing of the lockdown rules. We all need to act fast and do our bit to stop it spreading further.

“It’s important to get tested as not everyone who has Covid shows any symptoms, so if you get tested you are protecting other members of your family, the people you work with and friends you might be seeing now that we are allowed to meet in each other’s houses.

“You can test yourself at home - it’s very easy, and it only takes 30 minutes to get a result.

“You can pick up 7 tests in a box locally, or you can order them online, or ring for a box to be delivered.

“Every household in Bury is about to receive a booklet in the post that will tell you everything you need to know about what to do if you need to self-isolate - you must stay at home for 10 days, and not let other people into your home.

“If you need support with shopping or any tasks because you have to stay at home, we can help you. Please call us on 0161 253 5353. You might also be able to claim some money to help you stay at home. Please ring and we can explain that to you as well.”