Camden is ‘still one of least inoculated in UK’
Conservative group leader vows to keep raising issue
17 November, 2020 — By Richard Osley
The latest health statistics again show Camden lagging behind
CAMDEN remains the worst place in the UK in the country for childhood vaccination rates, according to new figures.
The New Journal reported in July how the borough was placed last out of 150 major authorities reporting the vaccine take-up numbers.
The latest round of health stats for April to July – the second quarter of 2020 – were released last week and again Camden was at the bottom of the list for two of the routine inoculations.
The poor take-up has led to concerns about how well prepared Camden is to encourage people to have a Covid-19 vaccine if one becomes available.
Conservative group leader Councillor Oliver Cooper told last month’s Covid-19 Oversight Committee meeting: “Thirty-five per cent of children don’t receive the MMR and booster, and 39 per cent don’t receive their four-in-one vaccination. Those are unacceptably high rates of those vaccinations not being deployed.”
He added: “It doesn’t suggest a high priority is being placed on ensuring vaccinations are in place so that they can be rolled out both for seasonal flu and Covid. I’m going to keep asking this question, as to what is being done to improve it every single quarter at one council meeting or another.”
The problem can be traced back at least 18 months when a Swiss Cottage GP, Dr Martin Abbas, warned all councillors at a Town Hall meeting that lives were at risk if the MMR vaccine was not taken up.
Labour education chief Councillor Angela Mason said the figures did not give a full picture of vaccination take-up in Camden.
She said: “If the statistics were true, it would be alarming but I’ve been working with public health colleagues and one of the issues is that a number of our GP practices who are responsible for a number of the vaccinations actually haven’t been recording what they have done. This is still an outstanding problem.”
Cllr Mason said the council was trying to resolve the issue, but at least one GP practice was not providing any detail. “We’re also mounting a big communications campaign around flu vaccines in particular,” she added. “We’re working with our schools, our community and our GPs to encourage as many as people as possible to take up flu vaccinations. There’s a great deal of activity.”