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Winter viruses and doing good deeds: A message from Cllr Graham Henson

As it gets colder and we spend more time mixing with people indoors, we must think about doing all we can to boost our immunity to winter viruses.

It’s more important than ever that everyone has their flu and Covid vaccinations when eligible.

Last year fewer people caught flu because we were living under restrictions and spending more time indoors. As a result, we have weaker immunity this year, when we are mixing with more people.

Everyone aged 50 plus or those with certain conditions that put them more at risk of getting seriously ill, should have a flu jab. Some organisations are offering free flu vaccines to their staff aged under 50 so do check if you can get one from your employer. Find out more about flu jabs.

The latest Covid statistics, meanwhile, show that Harrow had 792 cases in the past 7 days – increasing all age groups except in over 60s. Infection rates are rising and I would not be doing my job properly if I didn't stress that we really must do all we can to keep Harrow safe.

Covid is still a major concern. Northwick Park hospital's Covid ward is reportedly full and staff are worried about the impact of rising figures. The patients who appeared in TV reports this week were unvaccinated and their families now have the virus.

Carole Furlong, our Director of Public Health, informs me that around half of the people in hospital in North West London are unvaccinated but if we look at those in intensive care 75% are unvaccinated.

It is not too late to get vaccinated! Read more about how to book your booster jab when you are eligible or other Covid vaccinations.

The Government is already talking about risks and interventions and sadly many countries are reintroducing lockdowns.

Now is the time to think about reintroducing, if we have become lax, those measures that we were using as part of our everyday lives.

I urge you to wash your hands thoroughly, cover your face in inside or crowded area, create more space and ventilate indoor areas. These measures can make all the difference to keeping people safe and well.

That way we can hopefully look forward to the run up to Christmas and New Year and the events and activities on offer.

Road Safety Week

Something else to keep your eye on when you're out and about is the amount of traffic about. This week is Road Safety Week, the UK's biggest road safety event.

Every year, thousands of schools, organisations and communities get involved to shout out for our right to make safe and healthy journeys every day.

It is something this council feels passionately about and wants to raise awareness of. Everyone should feel safe using Harrow's roads. Find out more about Road Safety Week.

Mitzvah Day

To end on something much more uplifting, this week also sees Mitzvah Day - a day when Jewish people give their time to help others. But Mitzvah Day can be celebrated by people from any religion or background.

It's about giving a bit of your time, not money, to make a difference to your community - and I'm totally on board. In fact, I'll be having a double helping of Mitzvah Day on Sunday.

This year there's a green theme so people are being encouraged to do something to help the environment - a spot of litter picking or bit of tidying in the park perhaps. That's what's happening at Harrow Weald Rec on Sunday at 10am. Find out more about Mitzvah Day.

I'll be offering a helping hand there before heading off to Stanmore Synagogue later in the day (and supporting the planting of trees in Newton Farm Park inbetween!)

Talking about Harrow Weald Rec and good deeds, you can now pop in for a snack at the new ParkLife Cafe (which officially opens next week) - created in a disused toilet block thanks to council funding and a lot of wonderful work from the community.

Are you inspired yet? Why not think about doing a good deed yourself this week - and stay safe while enjoying everything Harrow has to offer.

Published: 19th November 2021