The COVID-19 Vaccination rollout started in December 2020

COVID-19 Vaccination rates are significantly lower in the poorest parts of England.

On average, only 57% of those who live in the 50 poorest parts of the country have received their third vaccination against the virus.

Data analysed by CBJ News shows that only one of the fifty most deprived local areas across England have a vaccination rate above 66.5%, the national average.

The Local Government Association has already warned that the pandemic has created a “perfect storm”, widening the gap between the most affluent and poorest areas across the country.

It is feared that those who live in deprived communities will continue to be impacted by the virus, with experts identifying a trend between vaccine uptake and a reduction in serious illness after a positive Coronavirus test.

PERSUADING LOCALS TO TAKE THE VACCINE 

Middlesbrough is the second most deprived community across England, according to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Only 52.1% of those who live in the town have received their third COVID-19 Vaccine, and public health bosses in the local authority are aware that deprivation is one of the main contributing factors as to why uptake is low.

“Middlesbrough’s one of the most deprived areas in the country, and there’s also quite a high BAME population. Them two factors overlap,” said Mark Adams, the town’s Director of Public Health.

“It’s harder to get higher vaccination rates in an area like Middlesbrough, in contrast to a leafy suburb in Surrey. That’s down to lower car ownership, which makes it harder to get to sites.

“When we did some of the pop-up centres, people told us that some of the shifts they worked meant that they didn’t know what they were doing day-to-day.”

VIDEO: Mark Adams is the Director of Public Health for Middlesbrough

According to the 2011 Census, 10% of households in the town were made up of single-parent families. With childcare issues to organise, and a struggle to balance working life with the needs of children, some may find it difficult to find the time to get vaccinated against the virus.

Mark also believes that fewer people consume mainstream news in the town than in other areas across the country. As a consequence, he fears that more will turn to unverified news sources, leading to an increase in distrust of government authority due to disinformation spreading online.

“I think there’s a perception in government that everybody sits at home at six o’clock and watches the news. But if you’re Polish or Indian, you’re probably looking at other websites from abroad.”

A Government report published in March 2021, identified that the pandemic has provided a “breeding ground for conspiracy theories and disinformation.”

WHY ARE THOSE IN DEPRIVED COMMUNITIES LESS LIKELY TO GET VACCINATED? 

Although health leaders continue to advertise the importance of getting vaccinated, it’s thought that convenience issues may act as a barrier to getting jabbed in the poorest parts of England.

“Getting vaccinated takes some time and effort. You have got to be in a position to take time off paid employment,” said Robert Dingwall, a Sociologist.

“If you’re employed casually, or on a zero-hour contract, then that is a barrier. The time you take travelling to a clinic will be unpaid.

“You have to have the money to afford the bus fare. If you’ve got to spend £5 on the buses, that can be a big chunk out of a household budget.

VIDEO: Robert Dingwall, a Sociologist, explains why those who live in deprived communities are less likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

LONDON’S LOW VACCINATION RATES 

London has the worst vaccination rate in England, with just 46.24% of people across the capital triple vaccinated.

VIDEO: Dr. Ellen Schwartz, COVID-19 Consultant at Hackney Borough Council, said that it is not a surprise that those who live in deprived communities are less likely to accept a COVID-19 Vaccine. 

“There’s not just an issue with COVID vaccinations in London Boroughs, but any vaccination historically has had lower rates for many decades,” said Dr. Ellen Schwartz, COVID-19 Consultant for Hackney Borough Council.

“There is an association between other parameters of inequality. We have large a group of migrants, and those from an ethnic minority. We’ve observed lower uptake [in these groups]. There is a range of reasons why uptake is so low.”