Northumberland 'best in England for vaccine take up', claim health chiefs
Northumberland has had the highest uptake of coronavirus vaccines of anywhere in England, health chiefs have claimed.
According to county officials, 227,884 first doses have been dished out, covering 83.4 per cent of the eligible population.
The rollout has seen jabs delivered from 19 different sites, with a ‘roving vaccination unit’ also on the move to pick up hard to reach areas.
And while bosses hope they are now well on track to hit their target of offering everyone a first dose by April 15, it has also prompted questions about what happens to those who have so far turned down or ignored their chance to get the treatment.
“We’re going to get to a stage where we’ve vaccinated everyone who wants it – but what happens to the people who don’t want it?,” asked Cllr Richard Dodd.
“Is there a plan to tackle people who don’t understand what their problem is?
“We’re going to run out of people to vaccinate and we’re going to try and find the people who don’t want it, presumably?”
Cllr Dodd was speaking at a meeting of Northumberland County Council’s Health and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee on June 15.
The county’s vaccine rollout success comes as it faces rising infection rates once more due to the Delta variant of the virus, which is thought to account for up to nine in every 10 new confirmed cases.
In total, 399,180 vaccine doses have been administered in the county, of which at least 171,296 have been follow-up offerings, meaning 62.7 per cent of those eligible in the county have had two jabs.
Health chiefs have emphasised vaccine offers are ‘evergreen’, meaning they can be claimed at any point.
“People will have different issues and those are all very valid issues that we need to respond to,” said Rachel Mitcheson, a service director at Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
“At the moment there are 11,000 people in Northumberland over the age of 50 who haven’t had a first vaccine, so there is still some work that we can do to identify those people who haven’t responded as opposed to those people who have refused to have a vaccine.”