The two Sunderland areas with the lowest uptake of Covid-19 vaccinations - and how health chiefs plan to improve levels

NHS bosses are continuing work to promote the Covid-19 vaccine in areas of Sunderland with low levels of uptake.

Sunday, 7th November 2021, 10:32 am
A Covid-19 vaccine being prepared.

The Millfield and Hendon areas have previously been identified as having some of the lowest rates in the city, with fewer residents coming forward for jabs.

Despite the success of targeted pop-up clinics in recent months, local health chiefs remain concerned about figures emerging from the city centre wards.

Data revealed this week showed that males aged between 40-54 in Millfield and Hendon have been less likely to come forward than in other city wards.

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“We have been trying to really dig into why that is and find out what we can do about it,"said Suzanne Watson, of NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

“The data suggests that it's mainly the male population between 40 and 54 that are less likely to have come forward for their first dose [...] it’s about 20% lower than other areas in the city for those two wards.

“What we have done is come together with the local authority and public health and some of the local councillors as well, to really dig into why those issues are happening and why people aren’t coming forward.

"We have come up with some actions to take forward."

The comments were made during a meeting of the CCG’s Primary Care Commissioning Committee on Thursday, November 4.

Actions included working with housing provider Gentoo to take out a mobile clinic to some high-rise flats in the wards and continued work with local faith leaders to arrange pop-up clinics.

Further clinics are also planned with homeless centres, such as Swan Lodge and the YMCA, to offer first and second vaccine doses and boosters.

Clare Nesbit, the CCG’s director of people and primary care, welcomed the update and praised staff for their work on the vaccination programme.

The health boss also asked whether a previously successful ‘door-to-door’ scheme could be revived to help boost uptake in the Millfield and Hendon areas.

“I know that we have invested a lot of effort into trying to increase the uptake, especially in the male population, and there’s lots of work going on around that with other system colleagues around what we can do," she said.

“This is about saving lives so it is around encouraging people to take the Covid vaccine.

“We know that we ran a number of door-to-door facilities with the community teams around getting people to uptake on the Covid vaccine and that was very successful.

“So I’m just wondering whether that is being explored, I know it takes a lot of time and capacity [...] if there is capacity, are we thinking about doing that again?"

The meeting heard that as the previous door-to-door scheme had seen results, a similar drive was being arranged in Millfield and Hendon to coincide with pop-up clinics later in November.

David Chandler, chief officer and chief finance officer of NHS Sunderland CCG, added: "These men who had not yet come forward, I think there's about 600.

"We need about an extra 600 if we're going to get to national average levels, which is a huge ask.

"But if we can keep a few more people out of hospital and look after a few more lives, we're hoping that the effort will be worth it."

For more information about the Covid-19 vaccine, visit: www.sunderland.gov.uk/article/17763/Covid-19-vaccine

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