Around three million older Britons have still not been vaccinated against Covid, despite having been invited.
As of last Sunday, 87 per cent of over-50s had received their first jab – leaving almost one in eight of the older population unprotected. While some will be jabbed in the coming days, many are likely to have refused or be hesitant.
Johnny Heald, whose polling firm ORB International is conducting research for the Vaccines Confidence Project, warned last night that the over-50s’ rate might be reaching a ceiling. A recent survey by ORB found 11 per cent of adults agreed with the statement: ‘I don’t need a Covid-19 vaccine.’
Around three million older Britons have still not been vaccinated against Covid, despite having been invited
Mr Heald said: ‘Around a tenth of the population is “anti-vaxxer” or at least vaccine-hesitant. So I don’t think the rate will go a lot higher than 87 per cent.’
Vaccination rates among retirees are higher, but Mr Heald said lower rates were to be expected in the middle-aged as they were at lower risk of serious Covid illness.
Nationally, vaccination rates are on average lower among black and minority ethnic populations. Class also makes a difference, although not as much as ethnicity, according to research by Oxford University. London has the lowest uptake rates in England. Its boroughs account for 18 of the 20 local authorities with the worst vaccination rates.
But London also has a problem with take-up among its white population, analysis of NHS figures by The Mail on Sunday reveals.
But London also has a problem with take-up among its white population, analysis of NHS figures by The Mail on Sunday reveals
In fact, vaccination rates appear lower among its 4.5million white population than in its 1.4million people of Asian descent. While some 34 per cent of Asian Londoners of all ages, including children, had been vaccinated by last Sunday, the rate was only 31 per cent among white Londoners.
The capital’s low vaccine take-up in its white population contrasts with the rest of England’s regions, where overall rates among whites are in the high 30s or low 40s.
Londoners are younger than the country at large, so proportionally fewer have been invited. But Mr Heald said a personal touch was important, adding: ‘In Yorkshire you probably know your doctor, so you’ll attend when they call. In London it’s more automated, with invites by text. Some might ignore them.’
One myth is that the UK’s ethnic groups are equally hesitant. British Indians are actually more likely than white Britons to have the jab – but British Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and black Britons lag behind.
Anti-vaxx letterbox blitz
Anti-vaccine groups are targeting elderly and vulnerable people by posting propaganda through their letterboxes.
Conspiracy theorists whose dangerous online posts have been blocked by social media companies in the past month are turning to more traditional methods to peddle disinformation.
Dozens of websites have sprung up offering posters, leaflets and stickers which campaigners are encouraged to download, print and distribute.
One of the most prominent ‘newsletters’, The Light, has appeared in homes, shops and petrol stations from London to Yorkshire. A recent edition included a front-page headline that claimed ‘Covid shots kill and injure hundreds’ and an article by Piers Corbyn, brother of former Labour leader Jeremy.
StandupX, another group that encourages members to distribute anti-vaccine literature, claims the jab ‘violates the Nuremberg Code,’ a research ethics charter born out of the horrors of Nazi experiments.