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.
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