Hackney and Tower Hamlets are in the worst performing area for vaccinations in the UK, according to the latest regional statistics released by Public Health England.
Despite Hackney more than halving their number of confirmed cases since Christmas, East London at large, which covers Hackney and Tower Hamlets and other neighbouring boroughs, has vaccinated only 69.6%, amounting to 40,006 people of its 80+ population as of the end of January.
Croydon and Lewisham, are performing somewhat better at 76.3%, with a total of 46,265 vaccinations at the end of last week in their over 80s group. However, both lag behind Gloucestershire, the national leaders, with 94.9% covered, amounting to 35,483 of their over 80s.
The East London region is the lowest in England for vaccinations, ranking 42nd out of 42 areas. Only 11.1 per cent of the total population have been vaccinated once, with 69.6pc of the 80-plus population, 72pc of those aged 75-79 and 61 per cent of those aged 70-74, which is, contrastingly, one of the best rates in the country.
Croydon and Lewisham fall into the South East London region which ranks 39th out of 42 and has vaccinated a total of 13.7pc of the population, 76.3pc of the over 80; s, 79.3pc of those aged 75-79 and 68.9pc of those aged 70-74, the highest in the country. Individual borough figures are not available.
Although London as a whole had fallen behind the rest of the country because of a hold up in vaccine supplies, the figures also show that across the capital, 80pc of those over 80 have been vaccinated, with, almost 80pc of all care home residents.
Our Director of Public Health, Dr Sandra Husbands has received her first dose of the coronavirus vaccine— Hackney Council (@hackneycouncil) January 28, 2021
Many people over 80 as well as health and care workers have already been vaccinated. You’ll be contacted by the NHS when it’s your turn
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However, there is cause for optimism with London now said to be on track to meet its target of vaccinating more than 1.5 million people in the at-risk groups by February 15. Dr Sandra Husbands, Director of Public Health for Hackney and The City, also confirmed that the district was now “on track” with vaccinating first phase priority groups, including over-80s and care home residents, by the target date of February 15.
Dr Husbands told ELL: “We’ve got all of the systems in place now to be able to vaccinate all the people who are eligible. We’ve even started doing home vaccinations, so for those who weren’t able to go to the vaccination centres in the first few weeks of having the vaccine available, we can now take the vaccine round to them.”
As a frontline health worker, she received her first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine earlier this month.
The vaccination programme in Hackney follows an enormous spike in cases during the week of Christmas to New Year’s Day, with 2,718 confirmed cases in comparison to the height of summer where there were only 33, recorded the week of August 14.
But with the latest figures for Hackney and The City proving that a national lockdown combined with progress in vaccinations has reduced cases, only 706 have been confirmed over the past week, which has been reduced by 75% since the Christmas spike.
With the Hackney and the City having the 11th highest Covid-19 incidence rate in London, with numbers of cases soaring over Christmas during the second national peak, Dr Husbands said she wanted to remind Hackney residents just how severe the disease is. She said: “Though Covid-19 affects those mostly in the older age group and those with underlying conditions, even if you’re fairly young or you don’t think you’re in a particular group, there’s always a chance you can get long Covid, which we’re learning more and more about.”
The second mutation of Covid-19 she described as “not as immediately life-threatening but can be life-changing”, leaving athletes breathless after a short walk. “Having the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from that.” Dr Husbands is “optimistic” for Hackney’s future and that, at some point, “we will have a normal life again, and it won’t be too long before we get there.”