Health chief explains why this Sheffield neighbourhood has one of the lowest vaccination rates in England
Nearly 16 million people across England have been vaccinated against Covid, latest figures show, which is well over a quarter of the population.
Yet in the Sheffield neighhourhood of Cathedral & Kelham, just 3.19 per cent of its estimated 21,171 residents have had their first jab, which is reportedly the lowest proportion anywhere in the country.
The Daily Mail claims this demonstrates what it calls the nation’s ‘vaccine postcode lottery’, with the vaccination rate in part of the Isle of Wight standing at nearly 60 per cent.
Health chiefs in Sheffield have pointed out that the number of people having had their jabs within different neighbourhoods is bound to vary depending on the make-up of the local population.
The more elderly and clinically vulnerable people you have living in any given area, the greater percentage there are who will fall into the Government’s priority bands to ensure those most in need get vaccinated first.
This is particularly true in Cathedral & Kelham, which has a particularly youthful population, no doubt attracted by Kelham Island’s many nightspots and its reputation as one of the UK’s trendiest neighbourhoods.
A closer look at the vaccination figures for that area show that just 53 out of the 676 people vaccinated as of February 21 – the latest date for which such a localised breakdown is available – were aged 70 or above.
Vaccinations have now started for those aged over 50 but many of the 623 people aged under 70 in Cathedral & Kelham who have had a jab so far are likely to be either classed as clinically vulnerable or working in a frontline health or care role, pushing them up the queue.
A spokeswoman for Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group said: “The uptake will vary depending on the population of each area. The population in these areas are not typically in the current JCVI priority groups and therefore we would not expect them to be vaccinated at this stage.
"Also, our vaccination programme is being delivered at a primary care network level, not at a local level like the Daily Mail have illustrated. So the areas of Cathedral and Kelham will fall in to a wider primary care network (PCN) area where the uptake data may be higher.
“The variation in the number of over 70s will depend on the demographics of each area. We are encouraging anyone over 70 who has yet to have the vaccination for whatever reason, to book a vaccination appointment online at www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination or by calling the free number 119.”
Across Sheffield as a whole, the percentage of people vaccinated is much higher than in Cathedral & Kelham.
The latest figures show that as of February 21, 143,551 doses had been administered across the city.
A total of 81,950 people aged 65 or above had received at least one jab, with 56,359 people aged 64 or below having had their first dose.
Sheffield’s director of public health, Greg Fell, said on Wednesday that 163,000 people across the city had now been vaccinated.