The city has one of the lowest vaccine take up rates in the country, with Government statistics showing that less than half the population (49.7 per cent) of Peterborough having had both doses of the vaccine by July 20 - the figure for the UK as a whole on the same date stood at 69.1 per cent.
The statistics show that a greater proportion of people in the UK have had their second jab than the proportion of Peterborough who have had their first jab (67.8 per cent).
Less than half of people aged between 18 and 29 in Peterborough have even had one jab.
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG said there were a number of ‘complex’ factors that affected vaccine take up - although when the Peterborough Telegraph has asked a number of times what those factors are during the vaccine roll out, they have not revealed them.
Jyoti Atri Director of Public Health for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council said it was vital for people to get their vaccination.
She said: “Recent data shows that Peterborough is behind the county average in terms of the number of eligible residents receiving their Covid-19 vaccinations. Peterborough City Council is working with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough CCG and our Community outreach teams in Peterborough to support residents to come forward and get their vaccine.
“With positive cases rising throughout the country, getting both doses of your vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and those around you, from the virus. We are now inviting everyone over 18 to come forward for their second dose from eight weeks after their first. This is to ensure everyone has the strongest possible protection from the Delta variant at the earliest opportunity.
“The Covid-19 vaccine is both safe and effective. The most important thing you can do to fight this pandemic and get life back to normal, is to come forward for your vaccine and encourage your friends and family to do so also. Vaccines are significantly reducing the link between infections and severe disease and death.
“There are pop-up vaccination sites in Peterborough, including daily walk-in clinics at City Care Centre and the East of England Showground. People can also walk in without an appointment at Halls the chemist this coming weekend, with more dates and locations available every week. More details of walk-in clinics throughout Peterborough and the surrounding areas can be found on www.thevaccinators.co.uk.”
Councillor Shabina Qayyum, who represents the East Ward on Peterborough City Council, has put forward a motion for next week’s Full Council Meeting expressing her concern.
Her motion reads: “It is important from a Public Health and Local Authority perspective to ensure that whilst mitigating factors, such as the disproportionate impact that Covid – 19 on BAME communities is being addressed and worked towards, negative perceptions surrounding the vaccination as well as accessibility issues are posing as challenges within populations that could be a possible contribution to the less than national average uptake of the Covid- 19 vaccine within the city.
“The challenges faced by the visually impaired, disabled, less able bodied and elderly populations with no access to transport due to the distance of vaccination centres must be revisited whilst there are increasing infection rates of the delta variant of covid.
“It is notable that the concentration of the city’s population is within its centre, with reports of long queues and waiting times at available vaccination centres, contributing to vaccine hesitancy and delay as people from outside the city also use the vaccination facilities within Peterborough.
“We have already seen some excellent examples of covid testing facilities set up within Mosques, Churches and other faith-based sites and community centres in various cities which are accessible and a familiar venue for residents to access for a covid vaccine. Examples of this have been seen in Birmingham, London and Manchester.
“On Thursday 4 March, SNP MP Chris Stephens tabled an Early Day Motion in the Houses of Parliament, calling for the vaccination roll out and vaccine testing to be made accessible for blind and partially sighted people, a factor that should be considered at available vaccination sites.”
A response from the council said the authority resolves to: “Identify strategies actively and swiftly by working with relevant stakeholders such as NHSE and Peterborough and Cambridgeshire CCG, in identifying and encouraging more risk assessed premises within the city such as Mosques, community centres and Pharmacies to make the Covid vaccination programme within the city, more accessible.
“To give faith groups and their representative committees the opportunity to propose their grounds and building spaces as vaccination hubs after adequate risk assessment has been provided and staff are identified as fully trained and facilities standardised with governance in place.
“To distribute, update and implement and ensure staff working at the vaccine centres are aware of managing and guiding those who are visually impaired by reading through the vaccination management as recommended by the sight council uk’s guidance.”
A spokesperson for the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We’re incredibly proud of the hard work of teams across the NHS, including our fantastic GPs, our local pharmacies, our community and hospital teams and our own staff at the CCG, whose joint efforts have meant that we’ve already delivered well over a million doses in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
“We’ve put on more capacity to meet demand as more people come forward to get their jabs, including by setting up dozens of new walk-in opportunities in and around Peterborough, and we’re particularly pleased to see that young people in our area are taking up the offer of the vaccination, with over 70% of local 18-24 year olds having had at least one dose and more young people getting protected every day.”