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Mobile vaccination unit at work in Hastings in May. More pop-up clinics have been arranged in the town (photo: Russell Jacobs).

Hastings gets more pop-up clinics as jab rate falters

Further pop-up clinics have been arranged in Hastings to provide opportunities for more residents to get a first vaccine jab. The vaccination rate has fallen sharply this month and the town still has a long way to go before enough of the population has had two jabs to achieve herd immunity. Text by Nick Terdre, research and graphics by Russell Hall.

Following the series of pop-up and mobile vaccination clinics at different locations in Hastings in May, which the Sussex Health and Care Partnership says proved popular with local people, pop-up clinics have been arranged for:

  • Saturday 26 June, 10.30am-3.30pm, at Warrior Square Surgery, Marlborough House, Warrior Square, St Leonards-on-Sea TN37 6BG
  • Saturday 3 July, 10.30am-3.30pm, at St Leonards Medical Centre, 126 Bexhill Road, St Leonards-on-Sea TN38 8BL.

Another was held on Wednesday 16 June, at Broomgrove Community Centre.

The partnership is also looking for vaccination champions, including in Hastings and Eastbourne, to help raise awareness of the benefits of taking the jab.

Whereas the first clinics were dispensing the AstraZeneca vaccine and were therefore restricted to 40-year-olds and above, the current series is dispensing the Pfizer vaccine and is open to all ages from 18 upwards.

But the clinics are only offering first doses – those who have already had one jab elsewhere, such as Hastings’ main vaccination centre at Hastings Centre, are asked to wait to be called back for their second.

This time there is no booking system – people are asked merely to turn up with some form of ID (photo not required) and if possible their NHS number.

Jab rates decline

A boost is needed to Hastings’ vaccination rate, which has fallen significantly in June – from the chart below, it can be seen that the seven-day rate, which was up around 800 doses a day in May, is now down to around 400-500.

In another step to accelerate vaccinations, the government has reduced the interval between jabs from 12 to eight weeks. A double dose provides much higher protection against the coronavirus – for Pfizer 88% against the predominant Delta variant and 60% for AstraZeneca, well above the single dose protection of 33% from either.

Herd immunity

But ultimately it is double-dosing a very high proportion of the population which will create herd immunity – that state in which transmission of the virus becomes virtually impossible. In the case of Delta, the bar is set higher than with the Alpha variant, which was previously the most common – it has been calculated that five out of every six people (83%) will have to have immunity, compared with three out of four for Alpha (75%). (These calculations were made assuming no social distancing or other measures to impede transmission – if these were present, the threshold would be lowered.)

At present only 52.5% of the local population of 18 years and above are double-dosed, and only 42% of the total population – which matters, as under 18s can still transmit the virus. If vaccination were extended to 12-year-olds and above, it would be necessary to give 97% of the 12+ population double-dose protection to achieve 83% coverage of the whole population.

And although vaccine uptake is very high, there is always a small number who for various reasons have decided not to have the vaccine, which makes the target very stiff. And if, as recent press reports have suggested, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation recommends against extending vaccination to under 18s, at least until more is known about the effects, the target would be impossible, as under 18s account for nearly 20% of the population.

But whatever is the best that can be achieved, a high rate of double-dosing is also a long way off – so far none of the five-year age groups in Hastings has achieved 97% even for single doses. For five-year age groups of 70 and above, a proportion of 90-95% has been achieved, from 50 to 69 it lies between 83% and 90%, and in younger age groups it is less than 80%.

 

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Posted 15:51 Sunday, Jun 20, 2021 In: Covid-19

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