WITH the coronavirus vaccine rollout continuing at pace, about three quarters of eligible Brits are now thought to have had both doses.

Almost 90 per cent of the adult population have also now had at least one jab.

However, there are large regional and age-related disparities across the UK population.

One part of Colchester is lagging significantly behind other areas in the town.

Greenstead has the lowest vaccination rate in the borough, as well as one of the lowest rates across the whole of Essex.

Up to August 18, 54 per cent of residents in the ward had received a first dose, with 39 per cent having had both jabs.

This compares with a Colchester average of 80 per cent for first doses and 69 per cent for second.

The reasons for the slow take up in Greenstead will be multiple, but its connection with Colchester’s student population will undoubtedly be a factor.

The other ward with significantly lower vaccine rates is Wivenhoe, with 58 per cent for first doses and 45 per cent for second doses, which also has a large student community.

Greenstead ward councillor Tim Young said: “There is a bit of a demographic issue because we have a lot of students living in the community.

“The other thing is it has not been that easy to get it at the GPs surgeries here and if they want to go to the vaccination centre at the stadium, it is two buses away.

“Car ownership in Greenstead is the lowest in the borough.

“I don’t think there is a high anti-vax population in the area. I think there are other reasons behind the figures.”


One of the ways North East Essex Clinical Commissioning Group is encouraging vaccine take up is by offering walk-in jabs at buildings or from a mobile vaccine bus.

Vaccine walk-in sites allow residents to receive their first or second jab, regardless of whether they have booked an appointment or are registered with a GP.

Dr Krishna Ramkhelawon, director of public health in Southend, said walk-in sites had made a difference in his area.

He said: “The walk-in sites are open at different times of the day so that people who work can still get there.

“They were trying to get people through quickly at the one in Leigh because the queue was longer than anticipated.

“We found it was younger people who were the ones coming forward at the centre, which is really encouraging.

“The good news is, so far, there has been a really good response to the walk-ins and we want that to keep on going.”

Dr Ramkhelawon said in Southend lessons had been learned from the process of setting up Covid test sites.


“While we were running those, it was OK, but not a lot of people were coming forward to get tested because it was too much effort or they couldn’t find the right time to go,” he said.

“You have to make it easier for people because everyone has busy lives, so we’re trying to use what we learned with testing with the vaccine programme.”

North East Essex CCG has already brought its mobile vaccination bus to Greenstead.

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During two visits in August, nearly 400 people received a vaccination across both days.

Further visits are already being planned in October.

With vaccination among young people generally lagging in most areas of the country other solutions are also proposed to encourage them to get the jab.

Vaccine certification, or vaccine passports, will be needed at venues, such as nightclubs, from the end of September.

The Government is also looking at the possibility of providing vouchers for things such as Uber and Deliveroo in exchange for jabs, while the idea of banning students from lectures if they’re not jabbed has been mooted.


Mr Young said: “I would not have a problem having a vaccine passport, but we do live in a free country and I can understand why people would call it a step too far. I think it is more about education and some of the ideas suggested, such as Deliveroo vouchers, are a bit ridiculous.

“I think young people are just as conscious and we have to be better at educating about the benefits of the vaccine.”

While mobile vaccination’s success in Southend is encouraging, Greenstead’s population is not directly comparable due to its more specific demographic.

The question of whether offering rewards, or introducing vaccine passports, to young people being vaccinated will work also remains as yet unanswered with schemes yet to get off the ground.

The CCG said people’s decisions on whether to get jabbed were influenced by many different things, but the statistics showed vaccinations were working.

A spokesman said: “People’s decisions on getting vaccinated can be influenced by a number of factors, sometimes leaving them unsure or confused.

“Those who are fit and healthy may question the need for vaccination, pregnant women and those planning pregnancy may have concerns, and social media unfortunately features misinformation.

“Yet, we know vaccination is making a positive difference and everyone eligible is urged to come forward.

“The Covid-19 vaccine is saving lives and reducing rates of serious illness.”

While the CCG says there has been “very good take up” of the vaccine across north Essex, it is urging those who haven’t had the jab to come forward.

“We encourage them to talk with us to discuss any questions or concerns they may have,” the spokesman added.

“They are welcome to drop by any of the walk-in vaccination clinics and speak with a health professional who will offer accurate and trusted information, with no pressure to get vaccinated. People can book a vaccination online, by calling 119 or visiting one of the pop-up clinics.”

You can call 0344 257 3961 or visit www.sneevaccine.org.uk to find out more about the vaccine.