It has been revealed that a third of Londoners are completely unvaccinated according to an analysis official UK government figures by The Times.
With a population of 8.9 million, that means 2.9 million people in the English capital have declined the Covid jab, despite an all-out promotion of Covid vaccines from the UK government and the NHS.
Promotional efforts to encourage people to take the Covid vaccines have included a continuous stream of TV and radio advertising as well as promotional videos, such as one featuring British showbusiness stars Elton John and Michael Cain, who joined forces with the NHS to urge people to get vaccinated in February.
Despite broad-based efforts, vaccination rates in London are not as high as may be expected.
The proportion of the population who have not taken a single jab is three times as high in London as in England as a whole. In Westminster, four in ten people have not had a single shot of a Covid vaccine. The 14 areas with the lowest vaccination rates in England are all London boroughs with East London seeing the least number of people vaccinated against Covid.
One of the reasons analysts believe London’s vaccination rates are low is because its population is generally younger than the rest of the UK’s. This could indeed be a factor, with a younger population therefore statistically less inclined to get vaccinated; it seems that many young people never had the jab at all despite huge pressure to do so.
Having said that, London’s vaccination rates are low across all age groups, with proportionally fewer people over 35 having had a COVID vaccine than those of the same age in all other regions of England.
In a debate on Covid certification this week, MPs also took aim at those who have declined to be vaccinated, stating that they were being “cavalier about the health of the public”.
NHS chiefs have been frustrated since the start of the vaccination programme with the way that London has lagged behind. One reason is likely to be a more transient population that lacks the personal links to GP surgeries that have helped ensure strong take-up in other parts of the country.
Professor Paul Hunter, an epidemiologist at the University of East Anglia, said London’s low vaccine take-up was “probably due to a number of things” including its ethnically diverse population.
“London has an ethnically diverse population and it has been difficult to roll the vaccine out to some ethnic groups, so I’m sure that’s part of it,” Prof Hunter said.
In terms of uptake of the booster vaccine, Tower Hamlets in East London has the lowest proportion of people triple jabbed in England. 65 per cent of the population of Tower Hamlets have had at least one Covid jab, and just 14.6 per cent in the area have had a booster shot as of 13 December. Neighbouring Newham is the second worst for uptake of the booster shot, with just 16.3 per cent of people having taken a booster.
Six other London boroughs made the list of the top-10 places with the lowest booster vaccine uptake – the combined figures for Hackney and the City of London sits at just 18.1 per cent for booster jabs.
According to U.K. reports, data shows that 6.4 million people in the U.K. have not received any Covid jab despite being deemed eligible. Major cities Manchester and Birmingham are believed to have the highest percentage of unvaccinated residents alongside London. The Guardian reported that similarly to London, in Birmingham, ethical diversity plays a role in low vaccine uptake, with the Chinese and Caribbean communities among those hesitant to take the vaccine.
One of the least vaccinated groups is Chinese 18- to 29-year-olds, with three out of four in this demographic not vaccinated.
Across Birmingham, a staggering 42% of under-40s are not vaccinated – more than 200,000 people, including more than 70% of Caribbean people aged under 40, The Guardian also claims.
Across Ireland, it has been reported that more than 215,000 appointments for Covid-19 booster shots were missed in just two weeks between late November and the beginning of December, triggering concern within government.
Taoiseach Michael Martin told the Dáil that in the week beginning 22 November, 208,000 appointments for booster shots were made, but only about 80,000 people actually turned up to receive their booster shot.