Sadiq Khan urges Govt to give London more Covid jabs to reopen city

15 June 2021, 15:40 | Updated: 15 June 2021, 15:44

Sadiq Khan has called for more jabs to vaccinate young Londoners
Sadiq Khan has called for more jabs to vaccinate young Londoners. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Sadiq Khan has urged the Government to provide more Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for London’s rollout amid concerns over the low take-up of the jab in the capital.

The Mayor of London tweeted on Tuesday: "Until more young Londoners are vaccinated, we won’t be able to beat this virus and fully reopen our city.

"I’m calling on the Government to allocate more Pfizer and Moderna vaccines to the capital so our younger age groups can get their first doses sooner rather than later."

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London health chiefs have reportedly requested 367,000 extra Pfizer and Moderna doses.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monay evening he was "concerned" about the situation in London, adding: "I think it would be great if we could get those rates up even higher."

England’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, added at the Downing Street press conference that areas of the capital with lower vaccination rates should be concentrated on to push up jab numbers.

Prof Whitty said vaccination rates in the capital were "higher than many countries would really dream of having at this point in time".

But he said London is behind by about 10 per cent compared with some other parts of the country.

"They are high, and I think we shouldn't pretend that they are low, they are high, but they should be even higher," he said.

A number of reasons have been cited for this, including hesitancy among older people in Bame communities.

Prof Whitty said it could also be due to people moving around London more and records being "less clear cut", with lower rates of vaccination and other medical interventions also common in other major UK cities.

He added: "What we need to do is concentrate on these areas where the rates are lower because we want to get all of them right up to the very highest rates."

Some 7.8 million doses have been given to Londoners, however the number of adults to have received their first jab is 68.6 per cent, while 43.4 per cent have had their second, compared with 79.2 per and 56.9 per cent nationally.

Downing Street confirmed on Tuesday that over-18s will be offered their first dose of a vaccine at the end of this week, after it was announced by chief executive of NHS England Sir Simon Stevens.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: "From the end of this week, over-18s will be able to get their jab."

Sir Simon said earlier the NHS would "finish the job" of the vaccination programme to the "greatest extent possible" over the next four weeks during the extension of restrictions.

He told the NHS annual conference: "By 19 July we aim to have offered perhaps two-thirds of adults across the country double jabs.

"And we're making great strides also in extending the offer to all adults, today people aged 23 and 24 are able to vaccinate through the National Booking Service.

"I expect that by the end of this week, we'll be able to open up the National Booking Service to all adults age 18 and above.

"Of course, vaccine supply continues to be constrained, so we're pacing ourselves at precisely the rate of which we're getting that extra vaccine supply between now and 19 July."