COVID-19 vaccination take up significantly drops across Dorset


COVID vaccination rates in Dorset may have dropped dramatically because many people believe that the pandemic is over.

The county’s director of public health, Sam Crowe, said there is evidence that many in the 18 to 39 age group are reluctant to come forward for vaccinations.

He told a meeting on Monday evening that a similar trend was being shown by those even younger, some of which will only come for jabs if there was little inconvenience for them and they did not have to travel far.

Mr Crowe sad the reluctance in younger age groups to get vaccinated seemed to be based on the belief that they were unlikely to be infected and, if they were, the symptoms would be relatively mild.

“There are fairly large numbers in affluent areas of Dorset who are not coming forward and are just getting on with their lives – but it is still important to get vaccinated,” he said.

“We may have had a near-miss with this variation.”

Vaccinations rates in the county have declined from 15,000 a day to just 1,500 on some days – with 83 per cent of the county’s adult population now having had one or two jabs, a figure which he described as “a huge achievement.”

The programme is now concentrating on second doses for 12 to 15 year olds and vaccines for vulnerable 5 to 11 year olds, with vaccinations also underway on second boosters for clinically vulnerable older people.

Mr Crowe said that with the slow down many of those working in the vaccination programme are now returning to their normal jobs with teams starting to work out how to deliver future vaccine programmes in a more sustainable way.

The public health director said that, although the signs are positive that the latest COVID-19 variant is less deadly, the pandemic is still with us and continues, with other winter pressures, to keep the NHS across Dorset working at full stretch with virtually no vacant hospital beds.

Infection rates have dropped significantly according to the latest data, with figures as of January 13 showing that there were 2,633 confirmed cases in the Dorset Council area, a massive decrease of 2,162 compared to the previous week, and the area now has an infection rate of 693.3 per 100,000 people. 

There are currently 77 COVID-19 patients in local hospitals across Dorset.

There continues to be outbreaks of COVID-19 across the county with schools and care settings keeping public health staff busy in offering advice and guidance on how to minimise infections.

Mr Crowe said that with fewer PCR tests now being carried out, following changes in government advice, there was, effectively, less monitoring of changes in COVID-19 variants, although he said he was confident that any future changes would still be picked up through sampling programmes and scrutinising other data.

By Local Democracy Reporter Trevor Bevins

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