Wednesday 23 June 2021 5:42 pm

Government announces a 'London summit' to boost vaccine uptake

The government will hold a London “vaccine summit” on Friday with Sadiq Khan and top health officials in a bid to boost the capital’s comparatively low take up of vaccines.

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi today announced that the summit will aim to scrutinise why the take-up of first vaccine doses in London “is slightly behind compared to others in the UK”.

“The London team is doing an incredible job and I can confirm today we’re supporting it with a London summit that will take place on Friday that will bring together senior officials, the NHS in London, the mayor of London, clinical experts and community leaders across the capital,” he said.

“To see what has worked, learn for it, scale it and see how we really do boost the uptake in the crucial few weeks in the lead up to 19 July.”

Khan said: “Together, we will focus on making sure every possible avenue is taken to accelerate the rollout and ensure that all Londoners take up both doses of the vaccine as soon as possible.”

Everyone over the age of 18 is now eligible to be vaccinated, with plans to eventually start the rollout for secondary school pupils.

A little more than 82 per cent of all adults in the UK have received at least one one jab, with 60.3 per cent of all adults having now received two jabs.

There has been some disparity of take-up between ethnic groups, with black Britons more likely to be vaccine hesitant.

London’s diverse population is thought to be the reason for the lower turnout figures in the capital.

Speaking at the Number 10 press conference, medical director of primary care at NHS England Dr Nikita Kanani said: “We know that some people are still anxious about coming forward for their vaccine, but tackling vaccine hesitancy, building vaccine conditions has been at the heart of our programme from the vey beginning.

“Uptake is increasing faster in black African and Pakistani communities than in white backgrounds now. Uptake in black and Asian communities has continued to rise, increasing form 75 per cent to 86 per cent in Asian communities and jumping from 55 to 68 in black communities.”