London’s mayor Sadiq Khan today complained about the city’s Covid vaccine supply after NHS figures revealed it has given jabs to fewer people than any other region.
Only two per cent of people in the capital were vaccinated against coronavirus by January 10, compared to five per cent in the North East and Yorkshire. Fewer than 30 per cent of London’s over-80s have had the jab — compared to the highest figure of 43.8 per cent in the North East and Yorkshire.
NHS England’s first regional breakdown of vaccines up to January 10 reveal that the Midlands has vaccinated the most people against the disease, managing to get first doses to 387,647 in the first month of the roll-out. This was more than double the 186,291 in the East of England almost twice as many as London’s 199,986.
London has accounted for only 10 per cent of the country’s vaccinations so far despite being home to 16 per cent of the population with some nine million people. The capital and the East are the only regions where the share of vaccines has been smaller than the share of the population.
The North East and Yorkshire, and the South West, are punching above their weight and making up only 25 per cent of the population but using 31 per cent of the first-dose vaccines.
Mr Khan said: ‘I am hugely concerned that Londoners have received only a tenth of the vaccines that have been given across the country.’ London is currently England’s region worst-hit by coronavirus but both cases, hospital admissions and deaths across the capital have started to slow down.
But NHS bosses hit back and insisted the city ‘is getting its fair share’ and dishing out the jabs rapidly at more than 100 sites including a giant hub at the Excel Centre Nightingale Hospital.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock today claimed that the UK has now dished out three million vaccinations since the roll-out started on December 8. The country is aiming to reach 13.9million people by mid-February so ministers can consider easing lockdown restrictions.
Yesterday saw Britain’s death toll rise by 1,564 as statistics now suggest more than 100,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the past year and another 47,525 more positive tests were confirmed.
In other coronavirus news:
- Home Secretary Priti Patel vowed to crack down on Covid rule breakers after police were called to a roof-top rave in Soutwark last night;
- A Public Health England study reveals a previous coronavirus infection gives people immunity for five months;
- Education Secretary Gavin Williamson admitted children would stay at home until after the February half-term;
- A new infectious Covid strain has been identified in Brazil strain and is sending cases soaring in the South American country,
- Ministers delayed rules forcing people to get a negative Covid-19 test before entering Britain until Monday;
- Tennis star Andy Murray tests positive for Covid days before he was due to fly to Melbourne for the tennis season’s first Grand Slam, the Australian Open.
Sadiq Khan said only a tenth of Covid vaccines across the UK had been given to people living in the capital. Pictured: Vaccination Centre open today at Lords Cricket Ground
Superdrug nurse Mary Saunders speaks to Henry William Rice, 95, from Guildford as he waits to receive the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine at Superdrug in Guildford
Brenda Clegg, 92, receiving a dose of the Covid-19 vaccine from pharmacist Rae Hynes at the Boots pharmacy in Halifax, West Yorkshire
The Mayor said he is ‘hugely concerned’ to learn the amount of Londoners who have been given the Covid vaccine
Queues of ambulances were seen outside the Royal London Hospital as Covid cases in the capital rise
Mr Khan said: ‘I am hugely concerned that Londoners have received only a tenth of the vaccines that have been given across the country.
‘The situation in London is critical with rates of the virus extremely high, which is why it’s so important that vulnerable Londoners are given access to the vaccine as soon as possible.
‘I have repeatedly called on the Government to scale up the vaccine supply, and will be meeting the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment today to ensure that we urgently receive an amount of the vaccine that reflects our size, density and the level of need in our city.’
It comes days after the Mayor declared a ‘major incident’ in the capital as Covid cases continue to rise, when he said the spread of the virus was ‘out of control.’
Today’s NHS figures, which revealed a regional breakdown of vaccination numbers for the first time, show the Midlands has vaccinated the most people.
Numbers up to January 10 reveal that five per cent of people in the North East and Yorkshire – one in every 20 people – have already been vaccinated against Covid.
It comes after Mayor Sadiq Khan (pictured) declared a ‘major incident’ in the capital as Covid cases continue to rise
HOW HAVE REGIONS FARED IN VACCINE ROLL-OUT SO FAR?
NHS England data for vaccination first doses up to January 10:
# of people vaccinated
% of local population vaccinated
% of England’s vaccinations
In London, where coverage is lowest, two per cent had been vaccinated by last Sunday – one in 50.
And the Midlands and the North East & Yorkshire have together used 38 per cent of the vaccines dished out so far. They account for 35 per cent of the population.
But despite being home to 27 per cent of the country’s population, London and the East of England have only accounted for 19 per cent of people vaccinated so far.
They are the regions whose shares of the vaccines are smaller than their shares of the people.
The NHS does not give a breakdown of how ages vary across England but regions with more elderly people will get more vaccines in the early stages of the roll-out.
Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs: ‘There are parts of the country where they have done incredibly well in, for instance, vaccinating the over-80s.
‘We are well over 50 per cent now in the North East and Yorkshire; less good in some other parts of the country.’
It is not clear whether some regions are vaccinating fewer people because they can’t get enough supplies or because they aren’t rolling them out quick enough.
Cities, for example, were able to start vaccinating sooner than rural areas because the first jabs to be used had to be kept in specialist freezers in hospitals.
Since the approval of the Oxford and AstraZeneca vaccine, however, it has been easier to send doses out to care homes, GP surgeries and pharmacies, meaning places where populations are more spread out should be able to speed up.
Despite this, London has the second lowest number of people vaccinated so far, at 199,986.
Around 16 per cent of the country’s population lives in the capital but its residents make up only 10 per cent of the people vaccinated by January 10.
Mr Khan said he would hold talks with vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi ‘to ensure that we urgently receive an amount of the vaccine that reflects our size, density and the level of need in our city’.
But the NHS hit back and said the city is getting its ‘fair share’.
A spokesman for the region’s health service said: ‘The NHS coronavirus vaccination programme, the biggest in the health service’s history, has got off to a strong start with a quarter of a million Londoners receiving their first vaccination against Covid, giving significant protection to those most at risk from the virus.
‘We have more than 100 vaccination sites up and running across London, including the NHS Covid-19 vaccination centre in the ExCeL London, and more are opening all the time.
‘London is getting its fair share of vaccine supply for the priority groups we have to vaccinate by mid-February.’
Boris Johnson confirmed the same, Sky News reported, and his spokesperson told reporters today: ‘We’ve rolled out the vaccination programme across the country and we’ve ensured that every area receives a fair share of the vaccinations and we will continue to do that.
‘You will continue to see the vaccination programme accelerate through this month and throughout February and the PM’s been clear that we will ensure there is a vaccine centre close to everybody by the end of the month.’
Reports from the city suggest that it may not be vaccine supplies holding people up, but issues getting the jabs out.
A public health director in Newham, in East London, said they were concerned about people turning down vaccinations.
Jason Strelitz told the Evening Standard: ‘It is a slow start. We have vaccinated in all of our care homes but we are concerned about uptake and pace. We are already getting information from our local NHS partners about a significant number of people not taking it up.’
And the GMB union, which represents healthcare workers, said nearly half of NHS staff in London said they haven’t yet been offered a vaccine, despite being in one of the top priority groups.
A GMB survey of its members in the NHS in the capital found that 43 per cent had not yet been offered a jab, The Independent reported.
The union’s Lola McEvoy told the news website: ‘They are at breaking point with this new strain and for so many to have not even been invited to be vaccinated with the first jab casts yet another shadow of doubt on the government’s ability to protect those risking their lives every day on the frontline.’
The East of England, which includes Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, is the only other region to have reached fewer than 200,000 people so far, at 186,291.
The largest number of people to have received their first dose of a Covid vaccine was in the Midlands, where 387,647 out of a population of 10.8million have been immunised.
London has again become the epicentre of the country’s Covid outbreak, with the Office for National Statistics estimating at the turn of the year that a staggering one in every 30 people in the capital was carrying the virus.
In the worst-hit boroughs, it is feared the rate could be as high as one in 20 people people with the virus.
A further 10,020 Covid cases were reported in London on Wednesday, bringing the total number of people who have tested positive for the virus in the capital to 538,132.
But there has been a drop in the number of hospital admissions, with 5,919 coronavirus patients admitted in a week.
As of Tuesday there were 7,606 Covid patients in London hospitals, with 1,085 of those patients being treated on ventilators.
While official NHS figures show 2,371,407 people have already been given a vaccine in England, according to statistics released by the National Immunisation Management Service.
The jabs are currently being distributed predominantly to people aged 80 and over who are deemed to be more vulnerable to the virus.
Care home residents and their carers, frontline health and social care workers are also being given priority.
The Government said a further 1,564 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Wednesday
It marked the highest number of UK deaths reported on a single day since the outbreak began. It brings the UK total death toll to 84,767
In the worst-hit London boroughs, the rate could be as high as seven in every 1,000 people, prompting fears London hospitals will be pushed to capacity. Pictured: A medic unloads a patient from an ambulance at the Royal London hospital in east London this morning
A cyclist rides across London’s deserted Westminster Bridge this morning on another day of the national lockdown
A further 10,020 Covid cases were reported in London on Wednesday, bringing the total number of people who have tested positive for the virus in the capital to 538,132. In the worst-hit boroughs, it is feared the rate could be as high as seven in every 1,000 people (pictured)
People wearing face masks were seen waiting at a bus stop in London this morning amidst news lockdown restrictions could be tightened further
BOOTS AND SUPERDRUG JOIN VACCINE PROGRAMME
Boots and Superdrug started dishing out coronavirus vaccines yesterday after No10 finally turned to the high street to help deliver its lockdown-ending promise of immunising almost 14million people by mid-February.
MailOnline revealed this week that the Boots store in Halifax and Superdrug branch in Guildford, Surrey, would be included in the first wave of high street chemists to join the national effort.
The chains are among six pharmacies across England to be converted into Covid hubs and will be able to administer hundreds of jabs each day between 8am and 8pm.
Vaccines are also being dispensed at Andrews Pharmacy in Macclesfield, Cheshire, Cullimore Chemist in Edgware, north London, Woodside Pharmacy in Telford, Shropshire, and Appleton Village pharmacy in Widnes, Cheshire.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the move was ‘fantastic’ and ‘will make a big difference’ in ramping up the national jab programme, while a Government source said ministers were on track to reach 3million weekly jabs by the start of February and hit the 13.9m target by next month.
The source told the Sun: ‘We’re in a good place and have enough to meet our pledge, with supply continuously improving. We are already vaccinating more than 200,000 a day and are nowhere near capacity. If things go smoothly we could well be doing 400,000 a day — three million a week — by the start of February.’
But independent chemists who’ve been begging for months to help chip in said they were ‘concerned’ the target would be missed unless more of England’s 11,500 pharmacies were drafted in. Just 2.6m Brits have been jabbed so far since the national programme launched in early December, a fifth of the 13.9m target by mid-February.
But in inner London, over-80s make up only 2.5% of the population, according to the Trust for London charity.
London’s population is also comparatively young compared to the rest of the country with the average age in the capital reaching 35.6, compared to 40.3 in the UK overall.
Despite the shocking figures, rule breakers continued to flout the restrictions.
Officers in the capital were said to be ‘astounded’ after being called to break up a party at an industrial unit in Southwark last night, where they found at least 20 revellers on top of the building.
Police were called out to reports of loud music coming from the roof by disgusted residents.
Many cheered the police on when they arrived to break up the illegal gathering on Pages Walk, Southwark.
Officers found more than 20 people drinking, eating and playing music, leaving one officer ‘astounded’ at the rule-breaking.
Two people were arrested, including one individual on suspicion of carrying an offensive weapon, while another was arrested for suspected drug dealing.
A further five people were handed fines for breaching Covid restrictions before the party was fully dispersed around 11.30pm.
It led Home Secretary Priti Patel to hit out at those brazenly flouting the restrictions.
She warned police will continue to issue fines and enforce against people who are ‘flagrantly breaching the rules.’
It came as the Home Secretary confirmed the government was not intending to make the lockdown tougher over the next few days.
But the Mayor of London has called for tougher restrictions in a big to halt the virus’ spread.
Announcing the major incident in London last week, Mr Khan called for churches and other places of worship to be closed.
In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, he also demanded face masks be worn routinely outside of the home, including in supermarket queues and other places outside that may be crowded.
He also wants more financial support for Londoners who need to self-isolate and are unable to work, and for daily vaccination data.
In a statement Mr Khan said: ‘The situation in London is now critical with the spread of the virus out of control.’
Major incidents were declared in London after the Grenfell Tower disaster, the London Bridge and Westminster terror attacks, and the Croydon tram crash in November 2016.
The Covid crush-hour: Moment scores of commuters cram onto Tube amid 540,000 cases in London – as construction workers call for closure of non-essential sites due to fears over journey to work
This is the moment scores of commuters crammed onto the Tube this morning – as construction workers called for a pause to non-essential work due to safety fears.
The footage was filmed at Canning Town station in east London, which is seen as a bottleneck due to the large number of builders and other key workers who live locally and depend on the Tube to travel to work in the city centre. TfL said there was also a service issue at the station this morning.
Despite concerns over the current surge in the virus, work in the construction and manufacturing industries has continued during recent months in all four nations of the UK.
London has been the UK’s Covid hotpot with 540,000 cases since the start of March. However, within the last few days the number of hospital admissions has plateaued, while the latest daily cases suggest the infection rate is coming down.
The footage was filmed at Canning Town station in east London, which is seen as a bottleneck due to the large number of builders and other key workers who live locally and depend on the Tube to travel to work in the city centre. TfL said there was also a service issue at the station this morning
The UK Government, responsible for the rules in England, encourages staff to travel in to sites if they cannot work at home, saying on its website that ‘this is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers’.
However, Will, a supervisor for a number of sites across the south east of England, said many staff he works with do not feel safe, and called for a pause on non-essential construction while cases of the virus were rocketing.
‘A lot of the construction industry just feel so let down and forgotten during this second wave,’ he said.
‘Like most construction workers, we are concerned about losing our jobs or even just looking bad to our companies by calling for sites to close to stop the spread.
‘A lot of guys here either don’t feel safe or, to be honest, don’t care, because if they do not come in they don’t get paid, and not paying bills and putting food on the table is a bigger issue to them.’