I was asked to comment on Evening News analysis of local vaccine data which shows fewer people in our most deprived neighbourhoods are getting their jabs. This is what I said in full.
“This is an awful triple whammy for some of the most disadvantaged people in our city. They’re most at risk from the virus and also least likely to get vaccinated. And there’s also evidence that, nationally, the most impoverished neighbourhoods have the highest infection rates. Residents are more than twice as likely to die from Covid as those in the least deprived areas.
There are lots of reasons why people in relatively disadvantaged communities aren’t coming forward for injections now. For example, many can’t easily get to a vaccination centre simply because they haven’t got a car and there’s no viable public transport either. I want to see the vaccination programme taken out much more into local communities instead of relying on mass vaccination centres and large, remote community hubs.
But so much of this predates the pandemic by many years. The Health Foundation says that even before Covid, people in the poorest ten per cent were three times more likely to die prematurely than someone in the wealthiest ten per cent.
I’m really concerned that lower vaccine uptake and higher infection levels will permanently worsen these inequalities. Prioritising poorer communities for vaccination and better financial support to self-isolate would help now for sure. But in the long-run, we need a proper plan to deal with the structural factors that continually condemn so many of our most disadvantaged fellow citizens to perpetual poor health.”