London’s top doctor has vowed the jabs roll-out would “sprint” to get as many adults as possible were vaccinated, as latest figures showed the capital was falling short of the Prime Minister’s targets.
Not a single borough has double-jabbed two-thirds of adult residents and only four are close to achieving one of Boris Johnson’s two key aims ahead of the removal of the last lockdown restrictions a fortnight from Monday.
Only eight of the 33 boroughs have administered a first dose to more than 80 per cent of over 18s – with the worst-performing eight boroughs all below 70 per cent. In Westminster, only 58.8 per cent of residents have had a first jab.
Dr Vin Diwakar, medical director of the NHS in London, told the Standard on Monday that the rollout in the capital had been “enormously successful”, with nine million first and second jabs given to date.
But he added: “While that is a huge achievement it’s not enough.”
Dr Diwakar declined to set a figure but said there would be a “sprint” over the next two weeks, with increased efforts to encourage take-up. “We would like to get to 100 per cent and we won’t give up until we have got as close to that number as we can,” he said.
He said the aim was to ensure all Londoners under 40 received at least one jab invitation. He added: “We are aiming to get to a position where everyone over the age of 40 has been asked at least three times: ‘Would you like the vaccine?’
“The more people who will take their vaccination, the bigger and taller the wall of immunity that we will be able to build around the country and the city.”
Evening Standard analysis of the latest NHS England vaccination statistics shows that 46,157 first and second doses were given on Saturday – 20,000 fewer than the previous Saturday and almost 30,000 fewer than “Super Saturday” a fortnight ago.
Richmond is the London borough with most residents, 87.4 per cent, having received at least one jab, followed by Merton on 83.6 per cent and Hounslow on 83.3 per cent.
Harrow is top on second doses, with 61.9 per cent of residents double-jabbed, followed by Richmond on 61.4 per cent.
But only 35.5 per cent of Tower Hamlets residents have had both jabs. In Hackney, 38.8 per cent are double-jabbed. In Islington, the figure is 39.2 per cent.
However Tower Hamlets received more doses in the last seven days than any other borough, a total of 14,276, followed by Southwark on 13,913, Ealing on 13,211 and Lambeth on 13,118.
Dr Diwakar used Monday’s 73rd anniversary of the foundation of the NHS to pay tribute to the “dedication and bravery of health and care staff” over the last “uniquely challenging year”.
He warned of a “hard winter” but said lessons learned during the pandemic about sharing the patient case load across NHS trusts would help the capital to cope.
“I think the autumn and the winter could very well be hard, because as the restrictions are lifted it is inevitable covid will start spreading,” he said.
“If we get more and more people vaccinated it will spread less, and there will be less people in hospital.
“What we really need to do is get people to come forward, and then get the vaccination in the right place.”