health

London sees big drop in number of Covid vaccinations despite drive to get young people inoculated


T

he number of jabs being given in the capital has fallen alarmingly in the last week despite efforts to encourage young Londoners to get vaccinated.

A total of 374,941 first and second Covid-19 vaccine doses were administered in the last seven days, almost 52,000 or 12 per cent fewer than the 426,648 given in the previous week, the Standard can reveal.

By the end of Saturday night, 75 per cent of the 6.9m adult Londoners had received one dose and 50 per cent both doses, according to NHS England data.

But if the current rate of 53,500 jabs a day is maintained, London will fall short of Boris Johnson’s targets for ending lockdown on July 19 by more than 1.6m doses.

Professor Kevin Fenton, London’s public health chief, said on Monday: “With only three weeks until July 19, it’s key we make every day count to increase our protection against Covid-19.”

A total of 2,918,630 more jabs are needed to bring London in line with the Prime Minister’s national target of offering a first jab to all people over 18, and of double-jabbing two thirds of adults.

Despite mass vaccination events at Arsenal – which runs until 8pm on Monday – Twickenham, Charlton and Crystal Palace, a total of 64,069 jabs were given on Saturday, 11,068 fewer than the previous Saturday.

Last Friday also saw fewer jabs than the previous Friday, 60,056, compared with 67,154 a week earlier.

There were signs that turnout this weekend was not as great as hoped – on Saturday afternoon, Islington council announced that second jabs would also be offered at Arsenal, despite initial plans to focus on under 40s needing a first jab.

About 10,000 doses were available across the four-day event at the Emirates stadium but only 2,093 jabs were taken on the opening day last Friday.

The Science Museum was on Sunday offering second jabs to people who had had their first jab only three weeks earlier, despite NHS guidance being for an eight-week gap between doses.

However, the mass vaccination events, including those held at the Olympic stadium and at Tottenham Hotspur stadium last weekend, do appear to have boosted take-up in the boroughs lagging furthest behind.

Tower Hamlets residents, who were encouraged to get jabbed at the Olympic stadium, received more jabs than any other London borough last week, a total of 18,074 first and second doses.

Wandsworth residents received 17,678 doses, Lambeth’s 17,406, Haringey’s 14,892, Hackney’s 13,990 and Islington’s 13,466.

In terms of the proportion of residents vaccinated, Richmond continues to top the London-wide league table with 86 per cent of residents having received a first jab, while Harrow is best for second doses (60 per cent).

Mr Khan insisted that London was ahead of other global cities, pointing out that 8.5 million doses had been given in 200 days.

He called for the capital’s entertainment venues to be allowed to fully reopen on July 19. “Theatres have worked so hard to make themselves covid-secure,” he said. “I think they should fully reopen on July 19, as well as live venues and pubs and bars.”

A spokeswoman for the Mayor of London said: “It is an incredible achievement that more than 8.5m doses of the life-saving Covid-19 vaccines have been given to Londoners, but the next few weeks remain crucial.

“Working together with the NHS, local councils and communities we continue to find new innovative ways to get the message to Londoners in the areas where take-up is lowest – from door-knocking to buses and pop-ups in faith settings and leisure centres.

“We are seeing the big difference that the vaccine is making in our fight against the virus, and Sadiq is strongly urging all adult Londoners to get theirs as soon as possible.

“You do not have to be registered with a GP to get vaccinated and Sadiq is calling on any Londoners who haven’t yet had the vaccine, or need to get their second dose, to book theirs now or attend one of the many walk-in vaccination clinics in London.”

Islington council said that more than 6,000 jabs had been given so far at Arsenal – leaving almost 4,000 available until 8pm on Monday. A spokesman said the eligibility criteria at the Emirates event were widened after health chiefs saw how popular the event was.



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