Covid vaccine rollout is slowest in some of England's most infected areas

Dominic Gilbert
·4 min read
Vaccine rollout slowest in some of the most infected areas of England
Vaccine rollout slowest in some of the most infected areas of England
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter

Areas of England hit hardest by Covid have seen a slower vaccination rollout since the administering of jabs began in December, analysis by The Telegraph has found.

The slowest 10 per cent of areas have seen on average twice as many Covid infections as the top 10 per cent, according to data from NHS England and Public Health England.

However, the disparity between vaccination and infection rates is smaller among those aged 80 and above as the Government focuses its efforts on the most vulnerable in the community.

According to vaccination data published by NHS England, the percentage of people of all ages receiving their first jab is lowest in parts of London despite the capital seeing large numbers of new cases.

Just 3.4 per cent of people under the East London Care Partnership received their first dose up to Jan 17 – the lowest percentage in the country. The area has seen the highest rate of new infections since the vaccination programme began on December 8, with 117,450 confirmed cases – 58 per 1,000 people.

In the North-West London Health and Care Partnership, where the rate of confirmed cases since Dec 8 is the seventh highest in the country at 42.1 per 1,000 people, 3.8 per cent have been given their first dose.

At the other end of the scale, counties including Herefordshire and Worcestershire and Gloucestershire have seen the highest vaccination rates among the general population, with 9.8 per cent having their first jab by Jan 17. However, the overall case rates in those areas are much lower, at 20.3 and 15.2 per 1,000 people respectively since Dec 8.

The problem within some London boroughs remains acute amid concerns over a postcode lottery in the provision of Covid jabs across the country.

Supplies of vaccines to GPs in the North East and Yorkshire region will be halved next week because the area is ahead of others, the Health Service Journal has reported.

Barking and Dagenham, which had the second highest case rate in England in the week to January 17 – 1059.6 cases per 100,000 – is among the areas with the lowest level of vaccine coverage. Those also include Newham, another London borough – the fourth highest with 1031.3 cases per 100,000 – and Brent, the fifth highest with 1001.9 per 100,000.

Half of the 10 local authorities with the highest weekly case rates are in the Integrated Care System (ICS) or Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) with the lowest vaccination rates.

During the early weeks of the vaccination programme, the focus has been on providing jabs for the over-80s, front line workers and vulnerable groups.

The 10 per cent of areas with the lowest vaccination rates among that age group have seen 50 per cent fewer cases since December 8 than the top 10 per cent – a less stark divide than among the general population.

Several counties in England are close to giving all over-80s their first dose, according to the latest data, paving the way for more people on the Government's priority list to begin receiving jabs.

Over three-quarters of those aged 80 and over in Gloucestershire, Northamptonshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Lancashire and South Cumbria have received a first dose, according to vaccination totals running to January 17.

See how your area is faring using the postcode tool below:

How many first doses have been given in your local area?
How many first doses have been given in your local area?

The NHS England data also reveals that Northamptonshire has given the highest proportion of second doses in the country, with more than one in five over-80s – 22.5 per cent – getting both their jabs. In comparison, just 0.5 per cent, or one in every 200 over-80s in Nottinghamshire, had received two jabs by January 17.

Overall, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire have given out the most jabs – more than one dose for every 10 people. In these areas, more than nine per cent of all people have received their first dose so far.

The latest figures come alongside national statistics showing that just under five million people across the UK have now received their first dose of the Covid vaccine, while more than 460,000 have received their second dose and are fully vaccinated.

Boris Johnson has said that successful vaccination of the Government's top four priority groups – a total of 15 million elderly and vulnerable people as well as frontline workers – by mid-February is a crucial milestone for the UK to hit before ministers cans begin to ease lockdown rules.

UK Vaccinations Projection
UK Vaccinations Projection

That would mean a further 10 million vaccinations over the next four weeks – or 2.5 million a week – but the latest data shows that the UK is currently only giving out 2.1 million first doses a week.