Move to boost ‘low’ vaccine uptake in parts of borough

Disparities between east and west of Enfield highlighted by health chief, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

An elderly man receives a vaccine (credit NHS England)
The number of people double-jabbed with a Covid-19 vaccine in Enfield is highest among the over-50s, with 70% vaccinated (credit NHS England)

The number of sites offering Covid-19 jabs in Enfield has been increased amid concerns over low uptake among some groups.

More GPs and pharmacies are now offering the jabs, as medics use technology and social media to reach groups in which the number of those vaccinated is below target.

During a meeting of the health and wellbeing board on Thursday, Dr Hetul Shah, Enfield’s integrated care partnership clinical lead, revealed uptake remains low in Edmonton and the south-east of the borough, among the under 25s, and among Irish travellers and some black ethnic groups.

Dr Shah said: “We have increased the number of sites where we are offering Covid jabs. Prior to the booster campaign rollout in the last month we had three GP vaccination sites, which has increased to four, and four pharmacy sites, which has doubled to eight. The majority of the increase is on the east of the borough [in] Hertford Road, which is great news.”

Dr Shah admitted that access to vaccination sites was not the main factor behind the low uptake but added that having sites closer to people encourages them to have their jabs “in a timely fashion”.

He told the meeting that medics were using technology to identify roads where vaccine uptake is very low and “much more social media to target certain communities”.

Figures presented by Dr Shah during the meeting show vaccine uptake is highest in the north and west of the borough but lagging behind in the south and east. The percentage of those aged twelve and over who have received their first dose ranges from 75.9% in Grange ward to just 53% in Upper Edmonton.

Dr Shah said the borough was doing “very well” in vaccinating the older population, but reaching the younger population was “increasingly difficult”. The data show only 16% of 16 and 17-year-olds and 41% of 18 to 29-year-olds have had two doses of the vaccine, compared to more than 70% of those aged over 50.

Younger age groups also have the highest infection rate, with 220 cases per 100,000 people in the 0-29 age group during the week to 4th October. This compares to 181 per 100,000 among 30 to 59-year-olds and 92 in the 60+ age group.

Dr Shah added that uptake was “particularly low” among travellers and some black communities. Only 30% of the former group have received a first dose of the vaccine, while the figures range from 37% to 51% for black groups.