OPINION

Greens must attend to vaccination uptake problem in their wards

Posted On 27 Jun 2021 at 3:38 pm

This week the Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas played her latest hand of pandemic politics.

In a parliamentary question Ms Lucas attacked the government over vaccines, referring to the efforts of the minister as “shameful, incompetent, a failure and disaster”.

She said that the government’s pledge to donate 100 million doses of vaccine to the international effort was “too little too late” and spoke of her “moral imperative” to do more.

In a similar vein, the Green leader of the council has never missed an opportunity to cast blame on the government in his regular column for Brighton and Hove News, published on this opinion page.

But are the Greens performing well enough in their own back yard to justify this brazen approach?

New data from Brighton and Hove City Council suggests that Ms Lucas and the leader of the council should focus their efforts much closer to home.

Statistics show uptake problems in Green wards.

It has now been over two months since all over-50s in the UK were offered their first dose of the vaccine and as such we can now look at the percentage uptake rates of the first jab among this cohort to which areas are a cause for concern.

The latest statistics from Brighton and Hove City Council on this measure – “Percentage of population 50+ vaccinated for covid-19 (first dose)” – suggest that certain areas of the city are not performing well at all and lagging badly behind the nation.

While outer suburbs such as Patcham, Woodingdean, Rottingdean and Hangleton have vaccine uptake rates among its population of over-50s of well above 90 per cent, the inner city areas of Brighton and Hove have worryingly low uptake rates in its over 50s cohort – currently in the low 70s.

Brunswick, an area represented by both the Green leader and the Green deputy leader of the council, has the worst first dose vaccine uptake rate for its over-50s cohort in the city – of just 72 per cent.

There are similarly low uptake rates in St Peter’s and North Laine and in Hanover.

Overall, Brighton and Hove City Council is performing well below the national average for vaccine uptake (first dose).

Our city’s latest rate of vaccine uptake among adults is 66.5 per cent, well below the UK average of 82.9 per cent for a first dose.

This is cause for concern, not least because Brighton and Hove has covid-19 rates above the national average with the spread of the far more transmissible delta variant, which has taken hold here.

More work clearly needs to be done by the Greens to improve this first dose vaccination rate among the over-50s cohort in Brighton and Hove – most notably in Green wards.

I would suggest that instead of playing a blame game or getting too involved in international WHO-level efforts, the Greens should be working harder to improve vaccination rates in their own wards and back yard.

There is no supply issue. We have in this city a sufficient supply of the Astra Zeneca vaccine for second jabs.

We cannot give those to some of our younger age groups to boost the uptake in that age group so let’s focus our efforts in the city to support those who are unable, reluctant or unwilling to get to a vaccination point.

The city’s and Sussex’s NHS ecosystem is doing well, the NHS has reported, in terms of its recovery. Let’s keep it that way!

According to the latest Ipsos Mori poll assessing attitudes on vaccine, the third most significant reason for people not taking the vaccine is “because I don’t trust the government if it is telling me I should take it”.

Perhaps the constant pandemic politics on vaccines from the leader of the Green council in his opinion columns on Brighton and Hove News is not helping with this public health effort in the city?

If you want to be the leader of the council, you need to show leadership for the city.

Before you change the world, as a city administration, get your own house in order.

Councillor Samer Bagaeen speaks for the Conservatives on health and wellbeing and sits on Brighton and Hove City Council’s Covid-19 Working Group.

  1. ChrisC Reply

    There are Conservative voters in the wards you mention so what are you doing to encourage uptake?

    Or have you just assumed that everyone who hasn’t had the jab is a green voter?

  2. Jonathan Simons Reply

    More contrarian fake news from this councillor as usual. The Tory wards have mostly very old stationary residents so will have been able to get the jab for much longer but will also have much more accurate GP data to get these figures from. The other wards mentioned have people moving in and out much more frequently which means the GP data the vaccine uptake numbers are based on are not remotely accurate – there’s plenty of analysis out there if he wanted to look at it rather than just hypocritically playing the “blame game” he accuses others of doing.

    As usual the tories desperately trying to distract away from their disasterous handling of the pandemic, 100,000+ avoidable deaths and now a health secretary who can’t stick to his own laws.

    • ChrisC Reply

      In the last couple of weeks I have had mail delivered addressed to precious residents which is the NHS vaccination invitation letter.

      I’ve sent both letters back. I’ve lived here for a year so these former residents clearly haven’t registered with another GP and this means they may have missed out on the vaccine and therefore lowers the achievement rate.

      When I was a GP practice manager in south London our turnover was approaching 30% due to the number of people in short term let’s. It’s not just a brighton issue.

  3. Andy Richards Reply

    “shameful, incompetent, a failure and disaster”. Yep….sounds about right to me. Caroline’s being a bit too gentle if anything.

    At first I thought he’d written this few days ago and it hadn’t aged well in view of what has happened over the last couple of days. But he’s actually posted this today! You would think that a Tory politician would have a bit more humility.

    Actually.., no you wouldnt.,,,

  4. Ben S Reply

    I’ve seen some of this guy’s posts on Facebook and thought he was a troll, can’t believe he’s a councillor. His posts are often unprofessional and show a complete lack of any knowledge around what he’s commenting on.

    This has to be one of the most desperate Tory articles I’ve seen on here for a while…looking at vaccine uptake at ward level and then trying to attribute blame to any political party is utterly ridiculous.

  5. John Reply

    Maybe he should explain what his amazing approach is that has got such a high uptake in his area, if he feels that it is down to something he has done, rather than being just the demographics of the areas as everyone else has responded.
    If this post had appeared elsewhere I would assume he was a spoof account trying to discredit the Tories by using such weak arguments that everyone else can just tear them apart in no time at all. I can’t believe he is an actual councillor.

  6. Gill Wales Reply

    What is the source of these claims please? Because the data published by the council do not show vaccination take up by ward. Nor does it show take up among the over 50s. It also warns that the National Immunisations Management Service, which provides the data, may have under estimated take up within areas: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/covid-19-key-statistics-brighton-hove/covid-vaccination-uptake-area-and-age-group?language=bsl

  7. Phil Kinder Reply

    Gill, here’s a link to the council’s page showing a breakdown by location. https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/covid-19-key-statistics-brighton-hove/covid-vaccination-uptake-area-and-age-group
    The 33 locations listed are Middle Layer Super Output Areas (MSOAs). Note how the council has headed the first column ‘MSOA Name’. They don’t correspond with the 21 ward boundaries, but it is possible to overlay maps and see broadly which areas vote which way, and make the sort of comparisons the author seems to have made.
    I suspect Green councillors tend to represent areas where there are more younger and/or poorer people, who I dare say are more likely to be transient and less likely to have a vaccination, let alone two jabs.

  8. Gill Wales Reply

    Thank you, Phil. So of the seven Green wards in the city, Withdean has one of the highest up takes in the city, while the highest up take overall is in Mile Oak, aka the Labour-held ward of North Portslade. Any alleged correlation between vaccination take up and voting behaviour therefore seems shaky, to say the least. Not surprising really, since the vaccination programme is delivered by the NHS rather than the city council. Seems likely that, in addition to demographics, differences in up take across the city have more to do with GP provision than who your ward councillor is.

  9. ellie Reply

    Yes this is nothing to do with political party and shameful to make it so. BUT rates are very low in central Brighton which is very problematic and would be good to see Health Authority hypotheses about why this is the case and what is planned to accelerate take up. Would be very encouraging to see parties working together to enhance health needs of citizens.

  10. Dave Reply

    As much as this article is dribble. I do get tired of the green councillors getting above their station. Your a city Councillor, you were voted in to help this city only, no one wants to hear you talk about Country level politics as that’s a sign of passing the buck and it’s not the job you are here to do. If you want to fight bigger issues than what the city is responsible for, run as an MP and let someone else more competent be a Councillor. This is why we don’t have a park and ride amongst other things

  11. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    This is a pathetic article. The vaccination system is being managed, quite a logistical feat, by the NHS, not local councillors.

    Those who do not have a vaccination are all the more likely to be infected by the latest variant, and so it goes on worldwide – despite the trumpeting of July 19th as a talismanic date.

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