Council report reveals concern that borough's Covid vaccination drive may be held back

Hornchurch Library

Hornchurch Library is hosting one of Havering's two Covid vaccination centres. - Credit: Google

A Havering Council report has revealed concerns that the borough's Covid-19 vaccination drive may be held back by insufficient resources and low uptake.

The document, published ahead of a full council meeting on January 20, discusses the significance of the vaccination programme.

The roll-out has begun, with Havering hosting two centres where those eligible can get their jabs - Victoria Hospital in Romford and Hornchurch Library.

The government has targeted offering first doses for the first four priority groups, which include anyone aged 70 and over, care home residents and their carers, as well as frontline health and social care workers and those who are "clinically extremely vulnerable" by February 15.

Havering's "relatively old" population means that the borough has a high proportion of people in those priority groups, according to the report.

It said: "Havering will need to receive proportionally more vaccine than other boroughs in north-east London to keep pace with the trajectory required to offer everyone in groups one to four a first dose of vaccine by mid-February."

The council added that "inequitable resourcing" and "vaccine hesitancy" may block progress, leaving residents and the NHS "unnecessarily vulnerable".

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The report continues: "Primary care services in Barking, Havering and Redbridge are under-resourced and under-developed in comparison with those in inner north east London.

"Without additional support, staff constraints are likely to limit the pace of vaccination and / or disproportionally affect the delivery of business as usual health care."

The document added that uptake of the seasonal flu vaccine among at-risk, working age adults in Havering has historically been well below national targets.

Public Health England figures show that uptake among this demographic has fallen below the national target of 55 per cent in each of the last eight years.

The report said: "There is no guarantee that all residents will respond positively to the offer of vaccination.

"Convenient options for working adults are essential and employers should positively encourage and enable uptake."

A spokesperson for NHS Havering Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Havering is getting its fair share of vaccine supply for the priority groups we have to vaccinate by mid-February and, thanks to outstanding work by clinicians, staff, and community volunteers, the local rollout is now well under way with vaccine offered in different settings to meet people’s needs.

“We are working closely with partners in the council, community and voluntary sector to share information and advice about the vaccine, using a wide range of channels and formats.” 

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