Concerns about low vaccine uptake in some Manchester communities as Covid-19 case rates rise

Health bosses are worried about how many Mancunians who are eligible to receive the spring booster to protect against the novel coronavirus have not done so.

A third of people in Manchester who are eligible for a fourth dose of the Covid jab have still not been vaccinated – a ’cause for concern’ as infection rates rise.

Only 67.2% of the city’s population who are aged 75 and over, live in a care home or have a weakened immune system and have had their first three doses of the Covid vaccination, have come forward for their fourth dose so far.

Local health bosses are particularly concerned about low uptake of the Spring booster within Manchester’s African, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities.

What does the data on Covid-19 vaccination show for Greater Manchester?

The latest data shows that around two thirds of people in these communities who have had the first three doses have not yet come forward for their fourth.

It comes as the number of Covid cases is rising with a ‘significant increase’ in infections of the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron in the last few weeks.

Advertisement

Jenny Osborne, who leads Manchester’s Covid vaccination programme, shared the figures at a health and wellbeing board meeting on Wednesday (6 July).

Jenny Osborne, strategic lead for population health programmes at the SRO Manchester Vaccination Programme. Credit: Manchester City Council

She said: “This is not the level coverage we would want to see.

“It means a significant volume of our population who are eligible are unprotected.

“In the context of rising Covid rates, that’s a cause for concern.”

Advertisement

Concerns about take-up of booster jabs in some communities

The public health boss is particularly concerned about uptake of the dpring booster within the city’s African, Pakistani and Bangladeshi communities.

As of June 25, only 32.6% of people of African ethnicity who are eligible for the Spring booster have had their fourth dose, while in the Pakistani and Bangladeshi population the level of uptake is 35.9% and 35.3% respectively.

The strategic lead for population health programmes in Manchester attributed the low uptake, partly, to the ‘general impression’ that Covid is no longer a risk.

She also said that, particularly for the Pakistani and Bangladeshi populations, many people are away visiting relatives for the first time since the pandemic.

Advertisement

How can I get a vaccine if I have not had one?

There are still regular pop-up vaccination events being held across the city in which people are coming forward for their first or second dose of the vaccine.

GPs and pharmacies are also offering Covid vaccines to all who are eligible.

However, the mass vaccination centre at the Etihad campus is due to close at the end of August and there is some uncertainty about community vaccination sites, such as the Jain in Levenshulme and Wythenshawe Forum, staying open.

GP practices and community pharmacies have until July 14 to confirm whether they will take part in the autumn and winter Covid vaccinations programmes.

But new funding arrangements for the NHS programme could lead to changes.

Advertisement

Osborne added: “We are looking at potential options with NHS estate that may have become available and we need to have a dialogue with all partners about what might be possible.

“But we know for our population, we need a local offer in place, so we’ll be working really closely with our primary care partners over the course of the next week to try and determine how we sustain that offer for the city.”