Councils with low Covid vaccine rates given funds to help people get jabbed
- Credit: PA
Volunteers in parts of London with low Covid vaccine uptake will help more people in hard-to-reach communities get jabbed thanks to a government windfall.
Funding is to be provided to council areas in support of the Community Vaccine Champions scheme, which is part of a national vaccine and booster drive to protect people against the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
Barking and Dagenham, Newham, Redbridge and Tower Hamlets were among 19 councils given £485,000 each, while Islington received £484,689.
Seven others, including Brent and Hackney, were allocated £185,000.
A total of £10.9milion - aimed at helping “vaccine champions” tap into their local networks to get people vaccinated - will be shared by 28 areas across the capital.
The funding was announced after more than two million jabs were given across London in December alone, NHS data shows.
This included 1,786,767 boosters and third doses; 140,256 second jabs and 117,000 first doses.
Councils across the capital are playing their part: Redbridge Town Hall was the country's busiest vaccination site on Christmas Day and Boxing Day; Wembley Stadium has acted as a pop-up vaccination centre, and Holloway Road has played home to a vaccine centre.
Despite these best efforts, the ongoing battle to vaccinate Londoners is evidenced by the map below.
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Communities minister Kemi Badenoch offered a stark warning of the dangers.
"We know that the unvaccinated are up to eight times more likely to be hospitalised than those who are jabbed," said the MP.
The government says the funding will enable councils to identify barriers to accessing accurate information and to provide tailored support, such as phone calls for people without easy access to digital technology, helplines and linking to GP surgeries.
Vaccines minister Maggie Throup said: “We are doing everything we can to reach those who haven’t yet come forward for their jabs and we know some people are more likely to listen to those they trust, such as community and religious leaders.
"That’s why we are giving extra funding to our brilliant Community Champions."
More than 14,000 volunteers joined the first Community Champions scheme in 2021, helping the vulnerable and isolated across the country.