‘Empty centres and low rates’: London MP says capital is being left behind in race to vaccinate

James Morris
·Senior news reporter, Yahoo News UK
·2-min read
People queue as they wait to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at Crystal Palace Football Club Vaccination Centre, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain February 4, 2021. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
People queue outside a vaccination centre in south London. One of the city's MPs has said it is being left behind in the UK's COVID vaccine drive. (Hannah McKay/Reuters)

A London MP has said the capital is being left behind in the UK’s coronavirus vaccination drive.

It comes as the opening of a mass vaccination centre in Andy Slaughter’s Hammersmith and Fulham constituency continues to be delayed.

MyLondon has reported the Novotel centre was meant to open on 8 February, but has now been delayed until March amid concerns about vaccine supply.

“Empty vaccine centres and low vaccination rates,” Slaughter tweeted on Wednesday. “London isn't sharing the vaccine rush.”

The Labour MP added that there is “no government plan for [London] to catch up”. Yahoo News UK has approached the Department of Health for comment.

The UK-wide vaccine rollout has been a major success story for the government.

As of Monday, 15,576,107 people had received a first dose of a COVID vaccine. According to Oxford University’s Our World in Data website, the UK is third in the world in terms of doses administered per 100 people.

On Wednesday, Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) adviser Prof Mark Woolhouse even said the vaccine data is “so good” that it points to an earlier end to the UK’s lockdowns.

Watch: UK vaccine data 'so good' that it points to lockdown ending earlier, Sage adviser says

London, however, has been lagging behind in terms of doses for over-80s.

The latest NHS England data shows that nearly one in four over-80s in the capital had yet to have their first jab at the beginning of last week.

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An estimated 78.4% had received a jab, the lowest of any English region and well behind the second lowest – the East of England – where 91.5% of over-80s had received a jab.

This map also shows the latest vaccine rates in England's 42 Sustainability and Transformational Partnerships (STPs), with London's four STPs having the lowest numbers.

Made with Flourish
Made with Flourish

On Thursday last week, the Evening Standard reported mass vaccination centres in London have been left “standing idle” while some GP surgeries have paused their rollout due to a lack of supplies.

There have also been reports of "vaccine hesitancy" among minority communities.

Watch: What is long COVID?