Health professional administering vaccine jab to a patient

NHS Confederation: Work to do to make vaccine access equitable

NHS Confederation have praised the work achieved by the NHS national vaccination programme to date, though also called for further work to ensure access to the vaccine was equally available to those eligible.

While newly-released ONS statistics showed impressive vaccination rates among those in their 70s and over, there were still gaps to be addressed in some sociodemographic groups.

Vaccine hesitancy and marginalisation have played roles in impacted the vaccine uptake among some communities and groups.

Dr Layla McCay, Director of Policy at the NHS Confederation, said: “These figures show us how much progress the vaccination programme has made in just four months, with more than 90% of those aged over 70 having already received a first dose. That’s thanks to the huge efforts of our members locally, who have done so much to reach their communities alongside their other healthcare responsibilities.

“With 30 million first doses now given and 3.5 million second doses, the NHS has made incredible headway.

“However, the figures also demonstrate there is still more work to do to make sure, first and foremost, that access to vaccination is equitable, and secondly, to overcome vaccine hesitancy, as marginalisation clearly plays a major part in pushing uptake down.

“The vaccination programme is among the strongest tools at our disposal in the fight against Covid-19, and offers a clear way past the pandemic. It is therefore vital that there are as few barriers as possible, so that the communities who have been so disproportionately affected by the disease are properly supported to receive their jabs.

"NHS organisations are actively working to improve vaccine confidence, and those efforts will continue. Until everyone is protected, no one is protected.”

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