Healthwatch City of London Bulletin 57

This week's bulletin gives the latest information in light of the emergence of the Omicron variant, and we announce another date in our webinar series.
Flu vaccination

Response to the Omicron variant

As you will be aware a result of the identification of this new variant, the government has put in place some new guidance which came into effect from 30th November 2021

You must wear a face covering in shops and on public transport. Face coverings should be worn in communal areas of universities, colleges and schools by staff, visitors and pupils or students in year 7 and above.

If you’re travelling to England from abroad you must take a PCR test before the end of day 2 following your arrival and self-isolate until you get a negative test result, even if you’re fully vaccinated.

If you’re a contact of someone who may have been infected with the Omicron variant, you must self-isolate for 10 days, regardless of your age or vaccination status.

The risk of catching or passing on Covid-19 can be higher in certain places and when doing certain activities. Covid-19 is spread by airborne transmission, close contact via droplets, and via surfaces. Airborne transmission is a very significant way that the virus circulates. It is possible to be infected by someone you don’t have close contact with, especially if you’re in a crowded and/or poorly ventilated space.

There are some key things you can do to reduce your chances of getting or spreading it:

  • Get vaccinated
  • Let fresh air in if you meet indoors; meeting outdoors is safer
  • Wear a face covering
  • Get tested. Take a free PCR test if you have symptoms and a free rapid test if you don’t, especially if you planning to go out and be around people
  • Wash your hands regularly and cover coughs and sneezes
  • Try and stay home if you are unwell.

You can find all this guidance in more detail here, including in other languages.

Get tested 

Getting tested for Covid-19 is really important in helping control the spread of the virus. It is important you get tested if you have symptoms and get tested if you don’t have symptoms but will be mixing with other people indoors.

If you are a City of London Corporation resident, are self-isolating and you require assistance, contact them by filling in the COVID-19 form, by emailing the COVID-19 mailbox, or by calling 020 7606 3030

There are different tests you can get to check if you have coronavirus (COVID-19). The test you need depends on why you're getting tested.

The 2 main tests are:

  1. PCR tests – mainly for people with symptoms, they're sent to a lab to be checked
  2. rapid lateral flow tests – only for people who do not have symptoms, they give a quick result using a device similar to a pregnancy test

Both tests are free.

How to get rapid lateral flow tests

You can also collect rapid test kits from the COVID-19 Test Site Aldermanbury, London, EC2V 7HH. There is no need to book to collect your kits. The site is open between 9am and 3.15pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. There is no need to book to collect your kits.

How to book a PCR test

You can find the closest test site to you by going to the following link Covid testing in the City of London. For the City the main test site is located at COVID-19 Test Site Aldermanbury, London, EC2V 7HH. The site is open between 9am and 3.15pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. or you can book a PCR test on the NHS site Tests can also be booked by calling NHS119.   

COVID 19 Booster vaccinations update

To maintain high levels of protection throughout the winter months, the Government has now extended the offer of a booster vaccine to people who are 40 years and over.

Most people will be invited to book an appointment at a larger vaccination centre, pharmacy, or local NHS service such as a GP surgery. You can book your COVID-19 vaccine booster appointment on-line or by calling NHS119.

If you are unable to leave your home or unable to travel to a vaccination site, please contact your GP who can arrange a home visit for administration of the booster.

You'll be offered a booster dose six months after your second dose if:

  • Live in a residential care home
  • Are aged 40 + years
  • Are a frontline health or social care worker
  • Are aged 16 to 49 years with an underlying health condition that puts you at higher risk of COVID-19
  • Are aged 16 and over and either live with someone, or are the main carer for someone, at high risk from COVID-19

Book your vaccination appointment online or find a walk-in clinic.

Primary Care sites

  • COVID-19 Vaccination Centre, 3A Bocking Street, E8 3RU
  • John Scott Health Centre, Green Lanes, London, N4 2NU
  • St. Leonard's Hospital, Nuttall Street, N1 5LZ

Pharmacy sites (booked through the national booking portal)

  • Boots, 120 Fleet St, EC4A 2BE
  • Clockwork Pharmacy - 398-400 Mare Street, Hackney, London E8 1HP
  • Bees Pharmacy - 199-201 Rushmore Road, Clapton, E5 0HD
  • Haggerston Pharmacy, 197-215 Haggerston Road, E8 4HU
  • Day Lewis Pharmacy, 77 Stoke Newington Rd, N16 8AD
  • Silverfields Chemists, 141 Homerton High St, E9 6AS
  • Spring Pharmacy, 223 Hoxton Street, N1 5LG
  • Murrays Pharmacy, 96-98 Murray Grove, N1 7QP

Alternatively, vaccinations for residents registered at Tower Hamlets GPs are being administered from:

  • Newby Place Health and Wellbeing Centre, 21 Newby Place, Poplar, E14 0EY
  • The Art Pavillion, Mile End Park, Clinton Road, E3 4QY

It has been reported in the news that you are able to book a booster jab from three months after your second dose, however both the Government website and the NHS are still stating six months.

We will post any updates to the government advice on our social media and in future bulletins.

How and when to get your COVID-19 booster vaccine?

You will be offered the booster at least six months after your second dose.

If you have not received an invite but it has been more than six months and 1 week (190 days) since your second dose, you can try to book your appointment online without an invite.

Flu vaccinations

If you've had COVID-19, it's safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu. The Government has announced that people aged 50 to 64 can now get free flu vaccine from 1 December as part of expanded flu vaccination programme this winter. You can get vaccinated at your GP surgery or a local pharmacy offering the service.

The groups now eligible are:

  • adults aged 50 and over
  • pregnant women
  • those with certain pre-existing conditions
  • NHS and social care workers
  • all children up to year 7
  • household contacts of those who are clinically extremely vulnerable

Flu vaccination is important because:

  • more people are likely to get flu this winter as fewer people will have built up natural immunity to it during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • if you get flu and COVID-19 at the same time, research shows you're more likely to be seriously ill
  • getting vaccinated against flu and COVID-19 will provide protection for you and those around you for both these serious illnesses
  • If you've had COVID-19, it's safe to have the flu vaccine. It will still be effective at helping to prevent flu.

You can find a list of local pharmacies on our website

HWCoL upcoming webinars and Public Meetings *New event added*

Healthwatch City of London have a programme of webinars booked for your interest and information over the next few months. The webinars are run alongside our regular events. Please see the details and how to join below.

Healthwatch City of London Annual Public Meeting

Friday 10th December 3pm – 5pm

Our Annual Public Meeting will be held on Friday 10th December, our key speakers will include a representative from Homerton University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Professor Charles Knight OBE, Chief Executive, St Bartholomew’s Hospital part of Barts Health. Tracey and Charles will be talking about patient engagement and how your voice will be heard during the reconfiguration of services and the development of the Integrated Care Partnership, In addition they will tell us how their Trusts are tackling waiting lists. They will take questions from attendees, and we will let you know more about that as we get nearer the date.

You can submit a question for the panel and register here or you can just join via zoom by using the following details: Meeting ID: 958 6276 6023 Passcode: 341057

Dr David Collier, William Harvey Research Institute Webinar  

Thursday 20th January 6pm – 7pm

Dr David Collier, Joint Clinical Director at the William Harvey Research Institute will be joining us on Thursday 20th January to talk about the William Harvey Research Institute, how it links with Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, and the current projects being undertaken by the research team.

You can submit a question for Dr Collier and register here

Accessing Long Covid Services in City and Hackney Webinar

Wednesday 2nd February 3pm – 4pm

We will be joined by Joanna Lyndon-Cohen, Highly Specialist Occupational Therapist from the City and Hackney Long Covid Services team. Joanna will be giving an overview of the services on offer for City residents who are suffering with symptoms of Long Covid.

Please register here to join us here

Tell us about City of London community pharmacies: PNA 2022 Public Questionnaire

Around every three years there is a review of pharmaceutical services across England.

So, what are pharmaceutical services?

In the City of London, pharmaceutical services are provided from community pharmacies, internet pharmacies, and providers of specialist medical appliances. Community pharmacies also provide healthcare support and advice and are often the first point of contact when people are concerned about their health.

Why are views on pharmaceutical services being sought?

The City of London Health and Wellbeing Board, which Healthwatch City of London are a member, have a statutory duty to publish a Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment every three years, under the NHS (Pharmaceutical Services and Local Pharmaceutical Services) Regulations 2013.The Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment is a report of the current needs for pharmaceutical services. It is used to identify any gaps in current services or improvements that could be made in future pharmaceutical service provision. The Board want to make sure that you can access pharmaceutical services easily and that you are happy with the service you receive. Anyone who uses local pharmaceutical services is invited to comment.

Who will use the Pharmaceutical Needs Assessment?

It will be used by NHS England, City of London Corporation, and the Northeast London Clinical Commissioning Group to make decisions when applications for new pharmacies are received, and for the commissioning of other services that could be delivered by community pharmacies and other providers.

How can your views on Pharmaceutical Services views be heard?

A questionnaire has been developed, to get your views on pharmaceutical services that you use. If you would like to complete this online, you can access the survey by clicking on this link

The survey closes on Friday 17th December.

Christmas information leaflet

We will be publishing our Christmas information leaflet on Thursday 16th December. The leaflet will detail the opening hours and contact details of NHS service providers and local pharmacies over the Christmas and New Year period. We will send this out to our usual mailing list, it will also be available on our website.

Healthwatch City of London website review

We are currently reviewing the information provided on our website, how it is displayed and how it works for you. We would welcome your input so if you have any ideas how the site can be improved, please let us know by emailing  Look out for changes over the coming weeks. 

City Connections December Newsletter

Please see below the City Connections December Newsletter which details all their events throughout December.

City Connections December Newsletter

Christmas activities across the City

Aldgate in Winter lantern parade and Christmas market on Friday 3rd December

Please see the flyer below:

Barts Virtual Festival of Carols. 8th December 5:45pm

Details can be found by clicking on the following link: 

Join this year's virtual festival of carols | Our news - Barts Health NHS Trust

City Connections Festive Singalong, 16th December 2:45 – 4:30pm

Golden Lane Community Centre. Go along for Festive carols and sumptuous refreshments!

See flyer below for details

Aldgate in Winter
City Connections Festive Singalong

Latest Covid-19 statistics for the City of London

The joint City and Hackney Public Health Intelligence Team produce regular statistics on Covid-19 levels and vaccination uptake data in the City. The site is updated regularly and accessible at   

Keep up to date with the latest advice

HWCoL are constantly updating our advice and information pages. Please make sure you visit them regularly.

Get in touch with Healthwatch City of London

Visit our website for more information, news and events, have your say about your care, and spread the word about Healthwatch City of London. email:  Tel: 020 3745 9563 Facebook: Twitter: @HealthwatchCoL

Portsoken Health and Community Centre, 14-16 Little Somerset Street, London E1 8AH