Covid-19 vaccine myths ‘biggest challenge’ in progress

The one millionth Covid-19 vaccine dose will be delivered from vaccination centres this week

The one millionth Covid-19 vaccine dose will be delivered from vaccination centres this week and will mark a milestone in Covid-19 vaccinations. - Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Wire

Tackling myths surrounding the covid vaccines is one of the biggest challenges being faced by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in trying to boost uptake, as large proportions of people remain unvaccinated.  

In Cambridgeshire, first dose vaccination rates of people between 25 and 39 years old are lower than the England national average. 

In Peterborough, all age groups are statistically significantly lower than the national average. 

Even in areas where the county is not significantly lower, there are still “large proportions” of the population uncovered by vaccination. 

The statistics were reported at a meeting of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough local outbreak engagement board on October 26. 

Jyoti Atri, the director of public health at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, said it was a “concerning set of circumstances” for the area to have a lower-than-average coverage of vaccination alongside a higher-than-average prevalence of coronavirus. 

The only district below the national average is Cambridge, but Ms Atri said an increase in the city is now starting to be seen as well. 

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Adrian Chapman, service director of communities and partnerships and the county and city council, said there are three main forms of “hesitancy” to receive the vaccine. 

He said: “There are some people that have had Covid-19 and weren’t particularly unwell, or still don’t believe in Covid-19 and therefore aren’t prepared to get vaccinated. 

“For some, convenience is an issue such as they can’t travel to a vaccine clinic or perhaps they’re on a zero hours contract and cannot take time out easily. 

“Then there's people who are perhaps worried about myths and rumours that they’re picking up which are valid in their own minds, but we need to work with them to try and dispel. 

“We have just got to work through these issues and as a result small gains for us are big wins.” 

He added: “If we manage to get 20 people that were previously hesitant into a session in a community and to get vaccinated, that’s a major victory. 

“That’s a big difference for them and their families and we just need to keep chipping away until we get to where we need to get to. 

“It makes us more determined really.” 

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