Boris Johnson ‘concerned’ about Covid vaccination levels in London

·3 min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Boris Johnson has admitted he is “concerned” that London’s Covid-19 vaccination rate is lagging behind other areas of the UK.

The Prime Minister addressed the capital’s relatively low jab rate at a Downing Street press conference on Monday evening, in which he also announced the so-called ‘Freedom Day’ when pandemic rules could be dropped would be delayed for four weeks.

More than seven million inoculations have been administered in London but concerns remain that the rate compared with other areas is low.

The number of people over 18 who have received a first dose stands at just 55 per cent in the capital compared with 73 per cent in the south west.

The figure for second doses is 34 per cent in London while it stands at 56 per cent in the south west.

Most other regions are comfortably outpacing the capital in the race to get the population vaccinated.

Asked about the issue by the Evening Standard’s political editor Joe Murphy he said: “I am concerned also about London.

“It’s absolutely correct that a huge number of Londoners have come forward we can be very proud of what whey are doing, but it would be great if we could get those rates up even higher.”

England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty said parts of the capital were 10 per cent behind the jab levels of many other areas around the UK.

He pledged to “fight” to push the vaccination rate up.

“On London let’s start off with the glass half full,” he said.

“Londoners, as the rest of those in the UK, have shown great enthusiasm for vaccination.

“Overall the rates are higher than many countries would really dream of having at this point in time, but they are behind in some areas by around 10 per cent other parts of the country.

“I shouldn’t pretend they are low, they are high, but they should be even higher.”

He added: “What we need to do is concentrate on these areas where the rates are lower because we want to get them up to the highest rates, which is what provides protections for individuals and provides protection for those around them.

“You are completely right we do need to concentrate on them and look in the different particular bits of London, because London is a very varied city, and find the areas with the lowest rates and really fight to push them up whatever the reasons are.”

Queues ‘longer than Glastonbury formed at Twickenham Rugby Club earlier this month after it became a walk-in vaccination centre for anyone over the age of 18.

Around 100,000 people received jabs after slots were made available for those in the area who had not been vaccinated.

The event called Let’s Tackle Covid aimed to increase the number of vaccinations as cases of the Indian coronavirus variant surged in Hounslow, west London.

Last month surge testing was carried out in a number of London boroughs including Hackney also as part of a strategy to keep the Indian variant under control.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged health secretary Matt Hancock to be “nimble” and make jabs available to younger people in areas where infections were rising.

He said: “We know which parts of our city are a concern. In those particular boroughs we should be operating a hyper-local approach and encouraging those who are younger to have the vaccine now to stop this strain spreading.”

Across the UK more than 41 million people have had a first vaccine dose which amounts to 78 per cent of the adult population. Almost 30 million have had a second dose.

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