Fear low Covid vaccine rates will prevent London boroughs reaching herd immunity

·2-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Concerns have been raised that London’s lower vaccine take-up rates will prevent some boroughs from achieving herd immunity.

Only 62.1 per cent of adult Londoners had received two jabs by the end of Sunday, latest figures reveal — well behind the national level of 72.7 per cent. Fewer than half of the capital’s 33 boroughs have double-jabbed more than 50 per cent of adults, according to the Government’s coronavirus dashboard.

Professor Helen Ward, a public health and infectious diseases expert at Imperial College London, tweeted: “No vaccine-induced herd immunity any time soon in some places — vaccine uptake is 72.7 per cent nationally (percentage of adults with 2 doses); in Lambeth it is 44.8 per cent.”

However, the dashboard substantially underestimates take-up rates by using outdated figures from the NHS’s “Nims” immunisation database.

More up-to-date population figures from the Office for National Statistics, based on estimated resident populations last summer and regarded by City Hall as a better indicator, suggest 80.6 per cent of Lambeth’s 260,174 adult residents have had a first jab and 59.7 per cent have had both doses.

Almost 900,000 Londoners have been diagnosed with Covid since the start of the pandemic, meaning many will have natural immunity regardless of their vaccination status — though it is not known how long such immunity lasts.

However, there remain concerns that the vaccine roll-out is grinding to a halt, with only 3,155 Londoners receiving a first jab on Sunday.

There is no official figure for the percentage of the population that would need to be fully vaccinated to achieve herd immunity against Covid.

Islington council on Tuesday announced plans for a second mass vaccination event at Arsenal’s Emirates stadium for four days from Saturday.

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