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The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective, and it gives the public the best protection against coronavirus.

This week, South Asian MPs, including myself, put together a short message aimed at reassuring those who are still reticent about taking the vaccine.

Last week, black MPs from across the political divide shared a video reassuring the public that the vaccine was safe.

We know that there are some people in our communities who are reticent to have the vaccine for religious or cultural reasons and there are growing concerns about vaccine take up in in BAME communities.

We want to share the message that there is no reason to refuse the vaccine for religious reasons. All our Faith Leaders are keen to promote the fact that neither the Pfizer nor the Astra Zeneca vaccines contain beef or pork.

It is vitally important that everyone who is eligible has the vaccine so that we can stop this virus spreading amongst our communities.

The latest large vaccination centre opened on Monday in Bedford. Bedford Heights welcomed through its doors pre-booked residents from 1 February.

As with other large vaccination centres, people who fit the criteria set out by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation will have received a letter inviting them to make an appointment either by calling a national line or via a weblink.

At this stage, people aged over 75 are now within these criteria. If you prefer to attend a centre that is more local, you don't need to do anything, you will be contacted by your GP when appointments are available. You do not need to contact your GP.

If anyone has received a letter inviting them to book a vaccine appointment at Bedford Heights, don’t worry if there are no available slots.

As each time slot gets filled, the system waits to issue new appointments. Please just keep trying and new slots will become available.

If Bedford Heights is too far to travel, you can wait to hear from your GP who will offer slots at a Centre more local to you.

If you have any concerns or questions about the vaccines, please get in touch with my office on 01234 346525 or email

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