10,000 Portsmouth young people get first Covid jab but uptake trails behind surrounding area

MORE than a third of young people in Portsmouth have received a Covid vaccine but health bosses are encouraging more to book in.

NHS England figures show 10,124 people aged 18-24 in the city had the first jab and 4,513 had both by June 27.

Separate data shows 37.2 per cent of the same age group had at least one jab by June 30.

This is up from 20.8 per cent on June 18 when slots fully opened to those aged 18 and over.

The Portsmouth NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Centre at Hamble House based at St James Hospital opened on Monday, February 1. Picture: Sarah Standing (010221-2020)

But uptake in Portsmouth remains behind other areas, with 47.1 per cent of young people aged 18-24 in England having received a jab.

Public health director for the city, Helen Atkinson, said the vaccination programme was ‘going well’ but admitted rates could be better.

She said: ‘We are lower in our younger age groups when compared to other local authorities in the region but uptake improves through the age bands.

‘Obviously the higher age bands have had longer to book their vaccines and the lower age groups less time.

‘However, we know when bookings opened to the over-18s there was a sharp take-up of bookings and so are confident young people are coming forward and of course we aim to encourage that enthusiasm.’

In the city the highest uptake of jabs has been among those aged 85 to 95 with 95.6 per cent vaccinated.

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And in Havant 49.7 per cent of 18-24s had one vaccine, with 40.3 per cent in Gosport and 59.3 per cent in Fareham.

Across all age ranges Portsmouth is lagging behind with 69.5 per cent of the population having received a first dose. Some 52 per cent have received a second.

This is slightly below the rate in England.

Roger Batterbury, chairman of Healthwatch Portsmouth, said: ‘I think the figures show people really want to go and get vaccinated.

‘Now we just have to make sure everyone knows they are eligible so they can go out and get vaccinated.’

In a bid to boost uptake a pop-up clinic was due to be held in the city today.

Ms Atkinson said: ‘To support younger age groups, Solent NHS Trust is running a pop-up Covid-19 vaccination clinic in our local community on Friday, July 2 for people aged 18 and over who haven't had the first dose of the vaccine.

‘The clinic will be held at the Friendship Centre, Elm Grove between 11.30am and 4pm.’

She added: ‘The vaccination programme protects each of us against getting the virus, protects the entire community, especially the vulnerable, and will help us all move towards our new normal.

‘I urge all adults who've yet to book their vaccinations to do so - whether first dose or second, no matter what age - no one has missed their chance, the vaccine is available to all adults.’

Appointments for the pop-up clinic in Elm Grove can be booked via [email protected]

Anyone who misses this can book their vaccination through the national booking system online at the NHS website or by calling 119.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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