Camden still lagging behind on vaccination rates

One in three adults still haven't had their first Covid jab

Friday, 4th February — By Richard Osley

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Conservative group leader Councillor Oliver Cooper at last week’s meeting

CAMDEN is lagging behind in vaccine take-up with a warning that it is a “hole in the net“ in the fight back against Covid and other critical conditions.

A third of adults still have not even had one jab, according to figures in a new council health report.

The poor rates have left Camden near the bottom of London’s immunisation league table and council chiefs facing questions over “stagnating” statistics.

Council leader Georgia Gould admitted more work was needed when she spoke at last week’s full council meeting.

The Department for Health is now sending £500,000 to Camden to try and accelerate protection against the coronavirus and will be partly spent on a health ‘bus’ touring the borough.

Conservative councillor Oliver Cooper said that lessons had not been learned from unsuccessful efforts to immunise children from other diseases even before the pandemic struck.

The New Journal reported in both early 2019 and 2020 how Camden had one of the lowest rates in the country for MMR and other immunisations.

Cllr Cooper said: “The low take-up of vaccines in Camden is a public health disaster. From polio to diphtheria, countless diseases have been almost wiped out in the UK through vaccination. Camden cannot afford to remain a hole in the net.

“Before Covid, Camden Council was spending £27million a year on public health and almost none of this was spent on improving vaccine confidence.”

He added that it was time for the Town Hall to “rededicate” resources.

Liberal Democrat councillor Tom Simon told the meeting that Camden was hiding behind the excuse that it had a younger population than outer London areas.
He said: “We know that over-50s’ performance is still below average.”

Cllr Gould said “a huge amount of work” had been done but more was needed.

“There are barriers in our community, there are people who are taking a lot longer to make the decision [to have a jab],” she said.

“I think it’s really important that we continue to give out that information, that we’re patient and that we have either the vaccine bus or vaccine clinics in communities when people are ready to make a decision.”

Council leader Georgia Gould admitted more work was needed

She said the experience of the pandemic would be taken forward in efforts to boost the take up of other vaccines.

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