Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

The mobile vaccination unit at work at Four Courts Community Centre in St Leonards last week. The presence of pop-up and mobile clinics in Hastings in the last two weeks is believed to have given a boost to local vaccination rates (photo: Russell Jacobs).

Coronavirus statistical update: Hastings plays catch-up on vaccination rates

The deployment of pop-up and mobile vaccination clinics in Hastings is helping to give a much-needed boost to the relatively low pace with which the local population, especially in the more deprived areas, is being given the jab. Higher rates are being achieved elsewhere in East Sussex. Text by Nick Terdre, research and graphics by Russell Hall.

The national vaccination programme proceeds at some pace, and with added impetus as awareness of the rapid spread of the Indian variant B1.167.2 grows, along with the fact that the current vaccines have been shown to be effective against the most common Covid strains (see previous report). On May 30 the government reported that 64.6m doses had been given in the UK, comprising 39.3m first doses and 25.3m second doses.

Thirty-year-olds are now being invited to get the jab, and the government says it is on track to offer a first dose to all adults by the end of July.

In Hastings, 88,550 vaccinations had been given, comprising 53,231 first doses and 35,319 second doses. For Rother the figures were 114,424 in total, with 64,046 first doses and 50,378 seconds.

The vaccination rate in Hastings, for which the seven-day totals slipped almost as low as 200 jabs in mid April, is currently running around 800.


Proportionally however Hastings continues to lag behind the rest of East Sussex. The latest data from the National Immunisation Management Service show that 84.8% of people aged 40+ in Hastings had received a first dose up to 23 May, compared with 91% in Rother.

The discrepancy is even more glaring when it comes to second doses among the 40+ population: in Hastings the proportion was 53.8% against 69.3% in Rother. To some extent this situation is explained by the fact that Rother has an older population, so as vaccination was offered to the older age groups first, a greater proportion of its population was able to have the jab.

But differences remain, even when  the data is age standardised to weight the rates to the age structure of England. These show a first dose percentage for the 40+ age group in Hastings of 84.3%, putting it in 252nd place among 314 local authorities in England, compared with Rother’s 88.8% and 152nd place. For second doses Hastings was in 259th place, having vaccinated 70.1%, while Rother, with 79.8% jabbed, was in 41st place (see interactive map below).

Elsewhere in East Sussex, according to the age standardised data, Eastbourne has given a first dose to 86.9% (205th place), but is going great guns with second doses, sitting in 2nd place after vaccinating 88.5%. Lewes is in 132nd place for first doses, with 89.2% vaccinated, and 66th for second doses (78.4%). Wealden, with 89.2%, lies in 130th place for first doses, and in 73th place for second doses (78.1%).

Vax rates and deprivation

As HOT has pointed out before, the lowest vax rates in Hastings show some correlation with the more deprived neighbourhoods. This can be clearly seen in age standardised data for the proportions of the 40+ age group given second doses by middle super output area, which roughly correspond to wards. For the deprived areas of Central St Leonards and Central Hastings, the proportions are currently 35.3% and 37.9% respectively, and for the better-off areas of Conquest & St Helens and Ashdown, 47.7% and 46.5%.

And these four areas are clearly differentiated on the index of multiple deprivation, on which the higher the ranking, the greater the degree of deprivation, with respective rankings of 1,734, 3,942, 17,943 and 17,439 (out of 32,844 - see interactive graph below) .

Local capacity inadequate?

Aside from socio-economic conditions, vax rates in Hastings in general may have suffered from the reduced availability  of vaccination locally, with ample anecdotal evidence that many residents have been offered the jab in Bexhill, Eastbourne, Brighton and even as far away as Folkestone and London. Some have accepted the offer, others not.

The East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group told HOT that when a jab is offered through the national booking service, the nearest locations with availability are offered.

So it would seem that the local vaccination centres - Hastings Centre on The Ridge and Laycocks Pharmacy in Ore - are often fully booked. Anecdotally it also appears that an invitation via the GP system to get a jab, accompanied by a link to the Hastings Centre, frustratingly takes the person to a message that there are no available slots.

Photo: Russell Jacobs.

The advice for those unwilling or unable to travel long distances is to keep trying - sooner or later there will be availability. But overall the conclusion appears to be that local vaccination capacity in Hastings is inadequate.

The programme of pop-up and mobile clinics run by teams from St John’s Ambulance, which held seven sessions at three different locations in the second half of May, should have helped to close the gap. HOT hears that on occasions they had to send for extra supplies of vaccines to meet demand, and understands it is likely they will be back before long.


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Posted 16:18 Monday, May 31, 2021 In: Covid-19

1 Comment

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  1. Kendal

    Recent studies showing people who ARE vaccinated may still be carriers, may make TRANSMISSION (especially of the Delta variant) a concern. “In fact, most vaccines don’t fully protect against infection, even if they can block symptoms from appearing. As a result, vaccinated people can unknowingly carry and spread pathogens. Occasionally, they can even start epidemics.
    “What type of immunity do the Covid-19 vaccines provide? In a nutshell we don’t know, because they’re too new,” says Keith Neal, professor emeritus of epidemiology at the University of Nottingham. “So far, the available Covid-19 vaccines have not been judged primarily on their ability to prevent transmission – though this is now being evaluated as a secondary endpoint for many of them. Instead, their efficacy was assessed by whether they could prevent symptoms from developing. ‘This means that we set our targets kind of pragmatically,’ says Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London.
    “There are some early hints that certain vaccines might be able to reduce transmission, even if they can’t eliminate it entirely. One way it might do this is by reducing the number of viral particles in people’s bodies. “It is quite likely that if the vaccines are making people less ill, they are producing less virus, and therefore will be less infectious, but that’s just a theory,” says Neal.
    “A month later, AstraZeneca revealed the results of a first analysis of their phase III trial data in a press release. Starting from 22 days after the first dose, the vaccine provided 70% protection against mild or moderate illness and 100% against severe disease, hospitalisation and death. (not transmission) The Oxford-AstraZeneca and Sputnik-V vaccines both involve modified versions of adenoviruses – a group that can break into many different cell types and cause a range of illnesses, such as respiratory infections. While the Oxford version uses an adenovirus from chimpanzees, the Russian one includes a mixture of two human types.”

    Comment by Kendal — Monday, Jun 7, 2021 @ 10:56

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