Covid vaccinations: London and East of England lag behind other NHS regions

Discrepancies marked in over-8os as less than a third get jab, while in north east 46% vaccinated

London and the East of England regions have vaccinated the lowest proportion of people aged over 80, amounting to a little under the third of their total population in that age group, according to the first regional figures published by the NHS in England.

An analysis of the newly released data by the Guardian highlights marked regional discrepancies with the two areas well behind the NHS region North East and Yorkshire, where nearly 50% of the over 80s have received at least one dose.

A total of 29% of the over-80s in the East of England region and 31% in London have received a first dose of either the Pfizer/BioNTech or
Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. By contrast, the proportion in North East and Yorkshire is more than 46%.

The reasons for the discrepancies are not immediately clear, although GPs and MPs have complained that there is not enough consistent supply of the two vaccines across England, making it difficult to plan ahead.


Some of the discrepancy could be due to differing population levels among the 80-plus age category, one of the highest-priority groups: 3.4% of Londoners are aged 80 or more, compared with 5.2% in the north-east and Yorkshire.

Doctors’ surgeries offering vaccinations have had to cancel appointments, restrict bookings and plead for more supplies, as the NHS manages supply of the potentially life-saving vaccinations around the country.

Some GPs have reported that they have been told they cannot start vaccinations of the next target group of people (those between 75 and 80 years) until other parts of the country have caught up – prompting complaints that some areas are being “levelled down”.

The four remaining English regions have been vaccinating the over-80s at a roughly similar rate, with the Midlands achieving 36%, the South East and South West each on 37%, and the North West 38%.

A total of 2.92m people in England received a first dose of either vaccine as of 13 January, an increase of 278,943 on the previous 24 hours. This amounts to 1.95m a week if maintained over seven days.

On Wednesday, Boris Johnson acknowledged that the vaccine distribution was uneven while giving evidence to the Commons liaison committee. Reflecting more up-to-date data, the prime minister said the over-80s vaccination rate was “more than 50%, well over 50% now in the north-east and Yorkshire”. But he added it was “less good in some other parts of the country”.

The UK needs to reach 2m doses a week in order to reach the 15m most vulnerable people by mid-February. The government aims to offer a first dose to all people in the four most vulnerable categories by 15 February.

The four categories include the over-70s, people who live in care homes, NHS and care workers, and those with serious underlying health conditions.


Dan Sabbagh, Pamela Duncan and Niamh McIntyre

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Covid: GPs to earn £10 per care home resident vaccination
Extra payment offered in effort to protect most vulnerable in England before end of January

Sarah Boseley Health editor

31, Dec, 2020 @12:23 PM

Article image
UK to begin using Oxford Covid vaccine as PM strikes hopeful tone
Boris Johnson says he hopes pace of vaccination can be ramped up to protect tens of millions in months

Sarah Boseley Health editor

03, Jan, 2021 @7:46 PM

Article image
NHS Covid drive aims to vaccinate up to 5,000 people daily at each mass centre
Thousands of hospital staff to be deployed in inoculation network with jabs also done by GPs at smaller community sites

Denis Campbell and Lisa O'Carroll

11, Nov, 2020 @9:11 PM

Article image
Fifty UK vaccination hubs will help deliver 2m jabs a week, say ministers
Government promises to inoculate 15 million Britons in top four priority groups over next five weeks

Dan Sabbagh

11, Jan, 2021 @7:41 PM

Article image
GP staff receive abuse every day over Covid vaccine reminders
Staff making reminder calls are being threatened for carrying out NHS work, say doctors’ leaders

Denis Campbell Health policy editor

14, Jul, 2021 @11:02 AM

Article image
NHS aims to deliver over 1m daily Covid and flu jabs in race against time
Health service to start administering boosters and jabs for children amid growing fears of winter crisis

Denis Campbell, Pamela Duncan and Tobi Thomas

16, Sep, 2021 @2:10 PM

Article image
Boris Johnson says 'anti-vaxxers are nuts'
Prime minister urges people to use expanded programme of free winter flu jabs

Peter Walker Political correspondent

24, Jul, 2020 @9:35 AM

Article image
English care homes 'sitting ducks' as GPs refuse Covid vaccine at infected sites
Suspected outbreaks recorded in 635 facilities, but vaccinations delayed despite NHS deadline to protect vulnerable people Coronavirus

Robert Booth Social affairs correspondent

21, Jan, 2021 @4:09 PM

Article image
Study reveals low Covid jab take-up among black people in England
Over-70s of black African heritage 7.4 times more likely not to have had first dose than white people, says ONS

Haroon Siddique and Aamna Mohdin

29, Mar, 2021 @12:12 PM

Article image
London lags behind in race to vaccinate over-70s against Covid, data shows
Analysis prompts concerns NHS is failing to reach some of capital’s most deprived areas

Niamh McIntyre, Caelainn Barr and Niko Kommenda

19, Feb, 2021 @3:22 PM