HAPPY DIWALI

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I learned a lot about Diwali growing up and saw how much it means to people. From the kids bringing halwa and jalebi to the playground, to the decorations at Dr Gandhi’s GP practice in Bristol, it was always a point of light at a dark time of year … writes Mr Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

I want to wish everyone celebrating a very happy Diwali, especially all those in the NHS and social care who have worked tirelessly to support us throughout this pandemic.

I learned a lot about Diwali growing up and saw how much it means to people. From the kids bringing halwa and jalebi to the playground, to the decorations at Dr Gandhi’s GP practice in Bristol, it was always a point of light at a dark time of year.

Decoration at Diwali on Trafalgar Square celebrations

This year’s celebrations will feel different to last year. With no restrictions on who we can meet, it’s a great time to meet with family and friends. However, the pandemic isn’t over and I want us all to do everything we can to stay safe this Diwali. We must continue to follow advice and get the COVID-19 vaccine and booster jab.

We know vaccines work and are the number one weapon in our armoury as we continue to fight COVID-19. To anyone who is eligible for a vaccine but still hasn’t yet taken up the offer – it is never too late to come forward and book yours. It could save your life.

We also know the protection from a COVID-19 vaccine wanes over time, just as it does with other vaccines, and this is likely to be most evident in those who are older or in at risk groups. It is so important that, as we approach winter, you do not delay in coming forward to top up your immunity by getting your booster to protect you and your loves ones over the colder months.

More than eight million people across the UK now have the vital protection boosters provide, and it’s never been easier to get a booster jab with walk-in sites across the country now open for those eligible – if it’s been six months since your second dose, get your booster as soon as you can.

We know that this winter could be challenging with the easing of restrictions resulting in a rise in flu cases. The government has launched our largest ever flu vaccine campaign this year – and if you are eligible, I urge you to get your flu jab as soon as you can.

As we all reflect on the message of Diwali and gather to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness, I ask that you be cautious and enjoy a Diwali that is not only special but safe too.

HAPPY DIWALI

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