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Poorer areas falling behind on vaccination against coronavirus

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The NHS is increasing efforts to reach out to ethnic minority communities in more deprived areas of England as analysis by The Independent shows poorer areas are vaccinating fewer at-risk people.

Among the most deprived parts of the country, fewer people aged over 80 and in their mid-70s had received their first dose of vaccine against coronavirus by 7 February when compared with more affluent areas, sparking concerns communities most at risk are being left vulnerable.

Comparing local NHS vaccination data with Public Health England’s deprivation scores for each NHS region reveals six of the most deprived parts of England were in the bottom 10 local areas for vaccine uptake among the over-80s and those aged over 75.

The worst performing NHS region was East London, with just 73& cent of over-80s vaccinated by 7 February. East London was also one of the worst-affected areas during the second wave of the virus as hospitals became overwhelmed early on in the crisis.

Dave Finch, a senior fellow at the Health Foundation, said: “Lower vaccine uptake in the most deprived areas is worrying as these areas have seen some of the very highest Covid-19 death rates. A higher likelihood of having poorer pre-existing health increases their risk of more severe symptoms if they do get the virus. And people living in poorer areas are increasingly showing signs of intense financial hardship as a result of lockdown measures."

“The government must prioritise understanding why vaccine uptake has been lower in these areas and take urgent, targeted action to address this. However, in the longer term, there must be a focus on investing across the UK to address major health inequalities in order protect everyone’s health and wellbeing.”

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Source: The Independent, 18 February 2021

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