Portsmouth people urged to ‘grab a jab’ as Covid-19 case rates and hospitalisations continue to rise and research shows that tens of thousands of residents remain unvaccinated

AS A parliamentary committee urges health bosses to do more to encourage Covid vaccine take-up, research is showing that tens of thousands of eligible people in Portsmouth still have not grabbed the jab.

Despite plans for another booster rollout later this year, the figures suggest there is still widespread vaccine hesitancy amongst some of the population.

More than 10 million people in the UK, including 3.7 million adults, remain unvaccinated against Covid-19 as the NHS creaks under the strain of the latest wave.

While 81.4 per cent of people in Portsmouth are vaccinated, figures from NHS England are showing that 37,734 of city residents have not yet got their vaccine.

Woman getting a Covid 19 vaccine at a vaccination cente. Picture: Paul Maguire

This makes Portsmouth the area with the highest percentage of unvaccinated residents at 18.6 per cent, followed by Gosport (17.8 per cent), Havant (15.4 per cent), and Fareham (12.1 per cent).

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In Portsmouth, Somers Town is the neighbourhood with the highest percentage of unvaccinated residents, with 37.4 per cent of locals eligible for a Covid vaccine not getting the jab.

Other city areas with low vaccine take-up include Southsea Fawcett Road (with 31.8 per cent unvaccinated residents) and Old Portsmouth and Southsea Common (31.2 per cent).

Elsewhere in the city, Fratton West and Portsea and the North End West and Whale Island areas are estimated to have 100 per cent vaccination rates among residents.

This analysis comes as the Office for National Statistics announced this week that more than 200,000 Covid deaths have been recorded in the UK since the start of the pandemic.

Earlier this week, the Public Accounts Committee called on health chiefs to redouble their efforts to reach the unvaccinated to cut the risk of Covid deaths.

The committee urged NHS England and the UK Health Security Agency to ‘urgently evaluate’ which methods are most effective in increasing vaccine uptake and called for a new approach to tackle low coverage in some ethnic groups.

The latest wave is being driven by highly contagious Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5. Health experts have said the vaccines still give high protection from severe disease and death and are urging all eligible people to get immunised.

Dr Mary Ramsay, director of clinical programmes at the UKHSA, urged everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.

‘Covid-19 case rates and hospitalisations continue to rise, although the rate of increase appears to be slowing.

‘Those aged 75 and over who have not taken up the offer of the spring booster put themselves at risk of severe disease.

‘We urge all those who are eligible for the spring booster to take up the offer as soon as possible.

‘Anyone who has not yet had their first or second dose, should also get up-to-date with their jabs to give themselves the best possible protection.’

With some exceptions, everyone over the age of five is eligible for a Covid vaccination in the UK.

The programme has been running since December 2020 with boosters delivered last winter and a further fourth dose administered to the elderly and vulnerable earlier this year.