GPonline analysis of the latest available weekly data on the COVID-19 vaccination campaign in England shows that despite huge progress nationally, vaccination coverage varies significantly between CCG areas.
The national picture in terms of numbers of people who have received a first dose is likely to remain largely unchanged over the next month because – in the words of NHS England – appointments for anything but second doses are set to ‘dry up’, with a drop in supply through April.
The government has said some first doses will happen every week in April – but with more than 12m second-dose vaccinations due, the bulk of UK supply is expected to be focused on completing the two-dose programme for people who received their first jabs near the start of 2021.
COVID-19 vaccine campaign
As the supply shortage arrives, vaccination coverage in some CCGs is a long way ahead of others. In NHS Stafford and Surrounds CCG, 91% of the entire population aged over 50 has now received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine – the highest proportion in any of the country’s 135 CCG areas.
Meanwhile, in London – a region that has struggled consistently to achieve the high vaccination coverage seen elsewhere in the country – in two CCG areas just 59% of over-50s have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
The two CCGs with the lowest proportion of over-50s given at least one jab are NHS West London CCG and NHS Newham CCG – and all of the 10 CCGs with the lowest coverage in people over 50 are in the capital.
While nationally around 94% of people aged over 80 have had at least one dose of vaccine – in parts of London this figure falls to just 75% – leaving thousands of those most at risk from the virus exposed.
Variation in vaccine uptake has been linked to increased vaccine hesitancy among more diverse populations, and to deprivation.
The Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported earlier this week that among people over 70 in England, 90.2% had received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine by 11 March.
However, the proportion vaccinated was lower among all ethnic groups compared with people of white British ethnicity.
The lowest vaccination rates were found ‘among people identifying as black African and black Caribbean (58.8% and 68.7% respectively), followed by people from Bangladeshi (72.7%) and Pakistani (74.0%) backgrounds’, the ONS reported.
It also found that people in the most deprived areas were less likely to have received a first dose of vaccine – with coverage in the least deprived fifth of areas at 92.1% compared with 87% in the most deprived areas.