All ELL boroughs receive extra funding to increase vaccine uptake

Pic: Hackney Council

All four Eastlondonlines boroughs, which have some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, are set to receive a share of a £22.5 million fund to help increase Covid-19 vaccine uptake in their areas.

Hackney and Lewisham will receive £185,000 each while Tower Hamlets and Croydon were each awarded £485,000 in funding as a part of the Community Vaccine Champions programme.

The funding, allocated last week to 60 councils across England, will help authorities in delivering bespoke projects aimed at addressing low vaccine numbers in their region. It will also provide support specifically tailored to their communities’ needs.

Projects could include vaccine helplines, phone calls to community members without access to digital technology or roving vaccination clinics, among other initiatives.

ELL boroughs have some of the lowest figures of vaccination in the country. Lewisham, Croydon and Tower Hamlets are all also significantly below the country’s national average of 90 per cent vaccination rate for first dose, 83.3 per cent for the second dose, and 63 per cent for the booster jab.

The worst is Hackney with with 63 per cent of people having received one dose, 57 per cent the second dose, and 35 per cent their booster shot. It’s followed by Tower Hamlets in which only 66.8 per cent of residents had their first vaccine dose, 59.4 per cent had their second, and 33.8 per cent had their booster. Lewisham and Croydon have slightly higher vaccination rates, but ELL boroughs remain some of London’s worst boroughs for vaccination rates. They’re also all slightly below the London average of 69 per cent for the first dose, 62 per cent for the second dose, and 42 per cent for the booster shot.

Lewisham is third place with 67.7 per cent of residents having received their first shot, 61.8 per cent receiving their second shot, and 41 per cent receiving a booster jab. Croydon is the best ELL borough in terms of vaccination rates with 68.9 per cent of residents having received their first dose, 62.7 per cent receiving their second, and 41.5 per cent their booster dose.  

The Community Vaccines Champions programme has been running since early 2021. As a part of this scheme, councils are encouraged to work alongside individuals with local knowledge of their area, who can identify the concerns of people living within the community.

Set up by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the scheme has already seen thousands of volunteers mobilised to support hard to reach groups such as the elderly, people from an ethnic minority background and faith groups.

Whilst councils are yet to decide how they might spend this round of funding, projects could look similar to those delivered in the past.

In Hackney, the council partnered with Hackney Giving and Volunteer Centre Hackney to provide local communities with translated material in a range of languages, while Community Champions helped certain groups to reach vaccination clinics.

Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said: “We are doing everything we can to reach those who haven’t yet come forward for their jabs and we know some people are more likely to listen to those they trust, such as community and religious leaders – that’s why we are giving extra funding to our brilliant Community Champions.” 

A vaccination bus at Lewisham College Pic:Lewisham Council

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