Revealed: How many people have had the Covid vaccine in your area?
- Credit: SARAH LUCY BROWN
Suffolk is flying ahead with its coronavirus vaccination rollout - with almost half of those eligible for the life-saving jab receiving their first dose.
Just over 46% of people aged 16 and over have had their first shot in the arm, making our region the second-best performing NHS area in the country - second only to Somerset, and level with Dorset.
Figures released by NHS England on Thursday break down Covid vaccination rates into neighbourhoods of roughly 8,000 people.
In 30 of these local areas across Suffolk and north Essex, more than half of those aged 16 and over have now received their first dose.
Just two of those neighbourhoods were in larger towns such as Ipswich and Colchester, with rural areas tending to have higher levels of vaccination in adults.
The area with the highest percentage of over-16s vaccinated as of February 28 was Saxmundham and Coldfair Green, with a huge two-thirds (66%) receiving their first dose.
Broke Hall in Ipswich, North Sudbury & Long Melford, and Eastgate & Southgate in Bury St Edmunds also recorded high percentages, with 52.4%, 63.4% and 52.7% jabbed respectively.
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At the other end of the scale, the lowest percentage of adults vaccinated as of February 28 was recorded in Greenstead in Colchester, where 19.5% have received their first jab.
Other neighbourhoods with lower coverage included Wivenhoe & University, also on the outskirts of Colchester, with 23.2% of over-16s jabbed. Westgate in Ipswich, a deprived urban area, recorded the same percentage.
Andy Yacoub, of Healthwatch Suffolk, said that despite being a mainly rural county, Suffolk appears to be offering its vaccines to “as wide a geographical population as possible”.
“The efforts of so many involved, inclusive of our NHS and voluntary sector, and the diversity of the types of sites on offer such as GPs, hospitals and mass vaccination sites, means the offer is as geographically spread out as possible,” he said.
While pockets of low coverage have emerged in some inner urban areas, affecting neighbourhoods in Ipswich, Stowmarket, Colchester and Haverhill, Mr Yacoub said Suffolk and north Essex have emerged in a far better position than major cities such as London.
He added that as of Friday, Suffolk will also have 28 Covid testing sites, which he described as “most welcome”.
The latest NHS numbers reveal significant gaps in vaccination rates across the capital.
The city has a far younger population, which would be the most obvious reason for lower percentages, but it also has several deprived, low-income areas, where take-up has been lower nationally.
Well over a third of adults in England have now had their first dose of the jab.