The London Assembly member for Merton & Wandsworth is urging Londoners to come forward and receive a Covid-19 vaccination if they haven’t already.
At the time of writing 64% of people aged 18 and over in London have had one vaccine dose while 43% of the same age range have had a second dose, according to government data.
London has the lowest vaccination uptake rate per England region with the South West the highest at 83% and 63% for first and second doses respectively among 18s and over.
However, Leonie Cooper is concerned that her boroughs have not reached the government’s target of having two-thirds of the population double-jabbed by 19 July.
She said: “Vaccine take-up across London is lower than many other places and London’s a big city and we mingle a lot – it should be higher than other places.
“In Wandsworth in particular we have a very young demographic, so I think the fact that it’s high on the first jab – though it’s quite low on the first jab in Wandsworth as well at just over 60% – but low on second jab is mainly because people have only just started being offered jabs at all.
“And of course if you’re having the second jab at least four and up to even 12 weeks later, then most people haven’t had that yet.”
The Office for National Statistics found the highest rates of vaccine hesitancy among ethic groups was in Black or Black British adults between May and June 2021, while London has a higher vaccine hesitancy than most other regions in England.
Cooper said: “We do have particular ethnic groups in Wandsworth where we know there’s vaccine hesitancy.
“I think the combination of having a large Somalian population in various parts of Wandsworth, having a large South East Asian population particularly focused in Tooting and then having a large Afro Caribbean population in Battersea has added to the demographic to create these very low levels of vaccination.”
Wandsworth and Merton have started door-to-door messaging in certain areas to help encourage residents to have a vaccination.
Cooper added: “It’s just getting the message out there to people to say it’s essential that you get not just your first jab but your second jab as well because the high level of protection that people get from the vaccine doesn’t kick in until you’ve had the second jab and the probably about three weeks after that.
“But I do think we need a bit more funding from the government for councils with this door-to-door work as it’s quite time intensive and you need staff to do that.
“For example the last round of funding from the government for this door to door work didn’t include Merton or Wandsworth, so we need some more of that across London as it really does help with vaccine take-up and targeting it towards parts of boroughs where you know the take-up has been low.”
You can book a Covid-19 vaccination through the NHS site here.