Health chiefs launch vaccine push in five Sunderland areas with lowest take-up

Public health experts are planning a Covid-19 vaccine push to increase uptake of the jab in five wards on Wearside.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 5:33 pm

According to data revealed by NHS bosses this week, the city’s vaccination programme has already administered around 300,000 doses to residents.

This includes more than half of the city’s adult population receiving both doses.

Now, five areas of Sunderland with the lowest coverage rates in the vaccine programme are set to receive extra attention, with health bosses planning a campaign to increase uptake.

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Health chiefs launch vaccine push in five Sunderland areas with lowest take-up

“We want the [vaccination] programme to be as fair as possible and we want nobody to be left behind,” said Kath Bailey, a public health specialist at Sunderland City Council.

“So we have identified five wards across the city with slightly lower, albeit very good uptake rates for the vaccine programme, and we’re going to target those initially when a vaccine campaign launches next week.

“We have additional resources going to those five areas with the lowest coverage rates.”

The public health specialist was speaking at Wednesday’s (June 9) Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee , which was held at Sunderland Civic Centre.

Wards with the lowest coverage rates include Hendon, Millfield Washington North, Barnes and St Peter’s.

During the meeting, councillor Martin Haswell questioned the reasons behind the low coverage figures in two particular wards.

He said: “Millfield and Hendon seem to be 10-15% behind the next lowest which is quite a dramatic difference, whereas Barnes, Washington North and St Peter’s seem to be ‘in the pack’ you might say.

“Is there a particular reason beyond just deprivation that’s hitting those two wards?”

Public health specialist, Kath Bailey, said that Millfield and Hendon had been “on the radar” for longer than the other wards.

Responding to Cllr Haswell, she said: “We have been trying to unpick that and understand more about what’s driving those particular patterns and as you might expect, it’s multiple causes and it’s complex.

“So it was partly about the demographics of those areas, they were a bit younger in terms of their population. We have allowed for that in the analysis to give a bit of a fairer comparison.

“We also do see a predominance of some of the particular ethnic groups that we have also identified in those particular communities and it’s also partly about deprivation profiles as well.

“We think there may be an element of the cohort six group which are the ‘clinical at risk’ – we know from the flu programme that they’re often a little bit challenging to get to come in for their vaccines.

“So there may be a little bit of complacency in those particular groups as well and all those factors together are driving those patterns that we see.

“So we’re working at the minute on what the different tactics are to address the different parts of that problem to try and improve the uptake for those particular communities.”

Councillors heard that if the pattern of vaccine coverage changes in future, public health teams are able to divert resources to other wards.

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