Are you the one-in-three over 65s in Tower Hamlets who hasn't had Covid jab yet?
- Credit: Kois Miah
One-in-three people over 60 in the East End still haven’t had their Covid jabs yet, health figures reveal.
The GPs’ commissioning group for Tower Hamlets has one of the lowest vaccination rates in London, according to NHS data.
Just 66 per cent of over 65s had their first dose in the 12 weeks to March 7 - only 20,000 people - while almost 30,000 under-60s had their first vaccination.
Only the City of Westminster's 61pc uptake was worse than Tower Hamlets in London.
The borough “could be left behind” if vaccine supply and people’s reluctance isn’t resolved, London Assembly’s Unmesh Desai warns.
“This is a race against the virus,” he said. “More government support is needed to fill the gaps. We need to act now with lockdown starting to ease. Otherwise, our community could be left more vulnerable.”
Mr Desai, who represents east London at City Hall, is calling for government ministers to look at areas like Tower Hamlets which might need “that extra boost in vaccine supplies”.
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He said: “Continuing to say it’s a problem in ethnic communities is inaccurate and potentially a counter-productive generalisation.
“The government and local authority must target resources towards alleviating concerns that some people have towards getting their first dose.”
The minister responsible for vaccine distribution, Nadhim Zahawi, predicted last week there will be “bumper weeks” for the rollout in London. But Mr Desai is urging the government to look at gaps in uptake and direct any increased supplies of doses to areas like Tower Hamlets and neighbouring Newham and Hackney that are lagging behind.
Poor vaccine take-up in Newham shows just 27,600 over 65s having their first jab, less than 70pc, the fourth worst in London, while only 24,000 over 65s have had their first vaccines in Hackney, under 72pc, the fifth worst rate.
Warnings have been sounded by Tower Hamlets Council about Asian and black people eligible for the jab failing to take up the offer.
Dr Abdul Kamali from the Limehouse Practice contacted the East London Advertiser with a public appeal last month when he said: “People from ethnic backgrounds can be more vulnerable to Covid-19 — which is why it’s important that we’re all vaccinated.”
The poor take-up compares to areas like Harrow, top of the vaccine table, with almost 90pc of over 65s receiving their first dose.