England’s Covid vaccine postcode lottery: Nearly HALF of over-50s have had both doses – with rates as high as 64% in Sussex but just 25% in parts of London
- EXCLUSIVE: More than half of over-50s have had two vaccine doses in 93 local authorities in England
- NHS England statistics show more than 10.5million over-50s in the country had their second dose by May 2
- Professor David Livermore says high vaccination rates mean lockdown can and should be lifted earlier
Almost half of all over-50s in England have now been fully vaccinated against coronavirus and as many as two-thirds have been covered in parts of the country leading the way, the latest official figures show.
About 10.5million people in the age group had received both vaccine doses across England by May 2 — a rate of 47 per cent — according to NHS statistics.
But, as has been the case throughout the rollout, analysis by MailOnline shows uptake has varied.
Some 93 of England’s 315 local authorities have already seen more than half of their over-50 populations receive a top-up shot but in 26 areas it is fewer than four in 10 and in two authorities the rate is below 30 per cent.
Eastbourne in Sussex had the highest vaccination rate, dishing out second doses to 64 per cent of people in the age group.
After Eastbourne, the highest rates were seen in the Isles of Scilly (63.0 per cent), Wyre (61.2 per cent), Mid Suffolk (57.9 per cent), East Suffolk (57.8 per cent) and Bassetlaw (57.2 per cent).
Rates were lowest in London, where ministers are worries that hesitancy is stopping people come forward for a jab when they are invited. Just 22,637 out of 88,187 over 50s in Newham, south London, have had their second dose — an uptake rate of just 25.7 per cent.
More than two thirds of people aged 50 and above in parts of Sussex are now fully vaccinated against Covid, NHS England figures suggest
Professor David Livermore, a medical microbiologist at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline that despite some areas still lagging behind, there was enough in the vaccination data to safely ease Covid restrictions more quickly than is being laid out in Boris Johnson’s ultra-cautious roadmap out of lockdown.
The next relaxation is not due for another 10 days — when foreign travel will resume and pubs and restaurants will be allowed to offer indoor service — but social distancing and mask-wearing will remain in place until at least June 21.
Of the ten areas with the lowest full vaccination rate for over-50s, nine were in the capital. They were: Newham (25.7 per cent), Tower Hamlets (28.2 per cent), Hackney (30.1 per cent), Westminster (31.7 per cent), Southwark (32.7 per cent), Hammersmith and Fulham (32.9 per cent), Kensington and Chelsea (33.5 per cent), Lambeth (33.8 per cent), Lewisham (35.0 per cent) and Corby in Northamptonshire (35.0 per cent).
Experts believe high ethnic minority populations, who have been found to be far more hesitant about the vaccines than white Brits in London’s inner-city boroughs are partly behind the low figures.
Just two thirds of black Caribbean Brits have taken up the offer of the Covid vaccine compared to nearly 95 per cent of white adults, according to Office for National Statistics data released yesterday.
And separate Public Health England data also shows just 65 per cent of black over-50s have had a first dose of the vaccine compared to 93 per cent in the White population.
In total, the UK has dished out 34million first jabs and 14million adults are now fully vaccinated. Statistics show two areas of the country have fully vaccinated fewer than 30 per cent of their over -50s, both of which were in London.
Professor Livermore told MailOnline: ‘I definitely think lockdown could and should be lifted more swiftly than is being done.
‘It has considerable human and economic costs and we are now in a position where over 70 per cent of people have some immunity from vaccination or prior infection and it is spring, when winter respiratory viruses decline anyhow.’
Britain confirmed 2,613 Covid cases and 13 deaths on Thursday, as an array of studies showed the number of people getting sick with the virus is continuing to fall.
Official testing sites picked up slightly more positive results than last Thursday – a 6.9 per cent rise on the 2,445 – but the daily death toll fell by 41 per cent on a week ago, when it was 22.
Another 404,226 people got their second vaccine dose yesterday, with another 139,097 being given the first jab. This means 16.3million people are now fully immunised and a further 34.9m have been given one.
Vaccines and lockdown are working so well tumbling hospital admissions mean hospitals can close their surplus intensive care wards set up especially for Covid patients, a leading medic claimed today.
Dr Rupert Pearse, from the Intensive Care Society, said: ‘Obviously it varies around the UK, but colleagues across the country tell me most surge ICUs have now closed. The surge area at my hospital is still open but only has a handful of patients. There are less than 10 patients [now] and at one point we had more than 150, so that gives you an idea of the scale.’
Just two thirds of Black Caribbean Brits have had a Covid vaccine compared to almost 95% of white adults – and hesitancy rates are up to five times higher in ethnic minorities, official data shows
Just two thirds of black Caribbean Brits have taken up the offer of the Covid vaccine compared to nearly 95 per cent of white adults, official data revealed today.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures released today show 66.8 per cent of black Caribbean people over 50 in England had a first dose between December 8 to April 12.
For people identifying as black African the estimated rate is 71.2 per cent, with rates of 78.4 per cent and 86.9 per cent for people from Pakistani and Bangladeshi backgrounds, respectively. For comparison, the rate among white British adults was 93.7 per cent.
The ONS report, which analysed data from 18.5million vaccinated people, also found uptake rates were lowest in people who had the poorest English skills.
Separate data released by the statistical body showed that vaccine hesitancy was also five times higher in black or black British adults (30 per cent) than white people (six per cent).
No10 has already launched a PR blitz to boost uptake in ethnic minorities amid fears pockets of unvaccinated Brits could house outbreaks.
But MPs have called on ministers to do more to reach minority groups and encourage uptake in the communities to prevent further vaccine inequalities arising.
Caroline Lucas, vice-chair of the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus, said the figures shows the vaccine passport scheme could risk further alienating groups where hesitancy is higher.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures released today show just two thirds of black Caribbean Britons have taken up the offer of the Covid vaccine compared to nearly 95 per cent of white adults
Separate data released by the statistical body showed that vaccine hesitancy was also five times higher in black or black British adults (30 per cent) than white people (six per cent)
The data showed vaccination rates also differed by religious affiliation. The lowest rates were among those who identified as Muslim (78.8 per cent) or Buddhist (83.3 per cent)
The ONS’ survey data included all adults aged over 50 in England who could be linked to the 2011 census, and showed black Caribbean Brits were 5.64 times as likely as white British people not to have had a jab.
People identifying as black African Brits were 3.4 times as likely to be unvaccinated.
Differences in geography, socio-demographic factors and underlying health conditions do not fully explain the lower vaccination rates among ethnic minority groups, the ONS found.
The data showed vaccination rates also differed by religious affiliation.
The lowest rates were among Muslims (78.8 per cent) and Buddhists (83.3 per cent), while the figures for people identifying as Christian or Hindu were 93.2 per cent and 92 per cent, respectively.
For Sikhs the rate was 91.9 per cent and for Jewish people it was 91.8 per cent.
It also showed the vaccination rate for people living in the most deprived areas of England was 87.8 per cent, while it was 94.5 per cent in the least deprived.
Disabled people who reported being limited a lot in their day-to-day activities had a vaccination rate of 89.3 per cent, compared to 92.3 per cent in non-disabled people.
Black Caribbean Brits were 5.64 times as likely as white British people not to have had a jab. People identifying as black African Brits were 3.4 times as likely to be unvaccinated
Hugh Stickland, head of strategy and engagement at the ONS, said the lower rates are ‘broadly similar to the groups who express vaccine hesitancy’.
He said: ‘However, the reasons for lower uptake are likely to be complex, including for example being unable to travel to a vaccination centre.’
But Ms Lucas MP, vice-chair of the APPG on Coronavirus, said Government has to engage with local communities at a grassroots level to deal with the rising divisions in hesitancy.
She said: ‘This is more evidence of the persistence of vaccine hesitancy among some ethnic minority and disadvantaged communities.
‘The work that’s been done with some minority groups, engaging with the local community, building trust and working with places like mosques and temples shows it is possible to overcome deep-seated mistrust and improve vaccine take-up. But it needs to be done at grassroots level, not imposed from Whitehall.
‘The pandemic has already exposed deep inequalities in our society.
‘Dividing people into the vaccinated and unvaccinated through schemes like vaccine passports risks making this worse and alienating the communities where vaccine take-up is already low, particularly if they are used to restrict access to everyday services. That must not be allowed to happen.’
Dr Habib Naqvi, director of the NHS Race and Health Observatory said: ‘Although steps have been taken to increase levels of confidence and trust in the vaccine amongst our diverse populations, the figures in this report show there is still more work to be done – including ramping-up tailored, culturally sensitive public health communications, delivered across a range of platforms.
‘Those from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds are disproportionately impacted by Covid-19. There needs to be ongoing support and two-way engagement with diverse communities to ensure that we can protect the most vulnerable from the virus.’
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