Fewer than half of care home staff have accepted their Covid vaccine in parts of London — despite working with elderly residents who are most at risk of dying from the disease, official figures have revealed.
NHS England statistics showed 74.3 per cent of care home staff across the country had received their first dose of the vaccine by March 7.
But the data — which break up the country into 150 areas — shows uptake of the life-saving vaccine among carers and residents varies widely across the nation.
Lambeth in south London has the lowest proportion of care home staff vaccinated, with an uptake rate of just 42.6 per cent. In comparison, seven areas have vaccinated more than 85 per cent, with the Isles of Scilly inoculating all 30 of its care home staff.
All staff in care homes should now have been offered a first dose of the vaccine, with England’s Covid vaccine roll-out officially widened to over-55s this week.
But a huge postcode lottery in the roll-out has emerged in recent weeks, with some healthy adults in their twenties managing to get vaccinated. The mammoth inoculation drive must go smoothly for lockdown to be safely eased in the coming months.
Yesterday’s figures — which offer the most up-to-date regional breakdown of the roll-out — show the percentage of carers who have opted in. It will not include a small minority who may have already been offered a jab but are still waiting for an appointment.
Statistics show a clear divide has emerged across the nation, with 18 areas having vaccinated fewer than 60 per cent of staff — 16 of which were in London.
More than 23million people have now had at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine but health officials have repeatedly raised concerns about hesitancy among carers and NHS staff.
Social care is in the top priority group for the roll-out — which began in December — but anti-vaxx messages on social media are thought to have dissuaded some who have been offered a jab.
Fewer than half of care home staff have accepted their Covid vaccine in Lambeth and Southwark in London
All but one areas of London have seen fewer than 70 per cent of staff working in care homes opt in to the roll-out. Lambeth not only has the lowest uptake among care home staff, but also the fourth lowest uptake among eligible care home residents. Just 84.3 per cent of vulnerable residents have had a jab
Top 10 areas for vaccine uptake among care home staff
Isles of Scilly
Bottom 10 areas for vaccine uptake among care home staff
Northern areas tended to perform best in the roll-out to care home staff, with nine of the top fifteen areas being in the North.
These were: Barnsley (86.4 per cent), Darlington (85.9 per cent), Rotherham (85.3 per cent), Blackpool (85.2 per cent), Gateshead (83.5 per cent), Cheshire East (82.7 per cent), County Durham (82.7 per cent), Bury (82.3 per cent) and Cumbria (82.3 per cent).
Meanwhile, all but one areas of London have seen fewer than 70 per cent of staff working in care homes opt in to the roll-out.
Lambeth not only has the lowest uptake among care home staff, but also the fourth lowest uptake among eligible care home residents.
Just 84.3 per cent of vulnerable residents have had a jab.
Southwark was the only other area to vaccinate fewer than half of care home staff, with just 327 of its 670 carers having had their first dose — a rate of 48.8 per cent.
The London borough was followed by Camden (50.5 per cent), Wandsworth (51.5 per cent), Redbridge (53.5 per cent) and Westminster (54.8 per cent).
Uptake is even worse for CQC-registered carers working in the homes of vulnerable people, with eight areas of London seeing fewer than 30 per cent of the group vaccinated.
Just 24.7 per cent of the 2,489-strong group have been vaccinated in Islington, north London, with the area trailed by Lewisham, Greenwich and Croydon south of the river.
Homeless people will be bumped UP the UK’s Covid vaccine priority list on advice of jab advisers
Matt Hancock today revealed homeless people in England will be bumped up the Covid vaccine priority list regardless of their age.
The Health Secretary said the decision — recommended by the UK’s top vaccination advisers — would ‘save more lives among those most at risk in society’. He added it was important ‘nobody gets left behind’.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which advises No10 on who should be inoculated, has until now ranked people by their age and whether they have any serious health conditions.
But the expert panel said it was now recommending the homeless were included because they ‘are likely to have health conditions that put them at higher risk of death from Covid’.
They will be mixed into the sixth priority group in the Government’s top nine, which includes everyone between the ages of 16 and 64 who has a serious health condition.
The JCVI said local NHS leaders can shorten the 12 week dosing regimen if they believe a homeless person is unlikely to show up for their appointment.
Homeless charity Shelter estimates there are around 280,000 people living rough in England.
It follows an announcement from Wales on Wednesday that it was bumping up homeless people on its priority list. Scotland and Northern Ireland are expected to follow suit.
When analysing figures for the wider population, there is still a huge gap in how neighbourhoods are performing across England.
England’s Covid vaccine roll-out was officially widened to over-55s this week and most over-60s in the data set will have been offered a vaccine, meaning figures give an indication of vaccine hesitancy.
In the City of London, 1,289 over-60s have been vaccinated out of 2,176 people in the age group — an uptake of 59.2 per cent. It was followed by Westminster (59.2 per cent).
She told MailOnline that some of the variance in uptake might be explained by issues with population data and people not living in inner-city areas during lockdown but added that hesitancy was an obvious issue that needed addressing.
Stratford-upon-Avon in the West Midlands had the highest uptake with 97.75 per cent, followed by Telford and Wrekin in Shropshire (97.38 per cent), Harborough in Leicestershire (97.12 per cent) and Stafford in Staffordshire (97.0 per cent).
It comes after MailOnline revealed nearly all of the fifty constituencies in England that were lagging behind in the Covid vaccine roll-out at the end of February were Labour areas.
For comparison, the data showed 47 of the 50 constituencies with the highest uptakes were Tory.
Scientists say Tory-voting areas tend to be wealthier — with uptake higher among richer groups — and have fewer ethnic minorities, which may be boosting the rollout’s performance.
Labour MPs today claimed their areas have missed out on the Government’s £23million Community Champions Fund, which was aimed to boost vaccine uptake among the most vulnerable and ethnic minorities.
Just £2.1million (eight per cent) of the scheme has been spent in London, which is largely Labour, even though the capital is home to around 15 per cent of England’s population.
Eight of the ten constituencies where uptake is lowest across the country claim not to have received any funding from the scheme at all.
But the Government claims funds have been fairly distributed based on a variety of factors, including Covid infection rates and levels of ill health.