Southwark Council has been given £485,000 by the government to get more people vaccinated against Covid-19 and have the booster jab.
About 206,000 in the borough had been double-jabbed as of the end of Wednesday (January 12) and nearly 137,000 had been boosted. The borough has about 340,000 people above the age of twelve.
Some parts of Peckham, Camberwell, south Bermondsey, Walworth and Borough have low double-vaccination rates of between 60 and 70 per cent, and booster and third jab rates of between 30 and 40 per cent.
Southwark has been using ‘community ambassadors’ to help encourage people who may be reluctant to get vaccinated. The council said black and ethnic minority people have been less likely to get the jab.
Cllr Evelyn Akoto, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said that the council would use the money to give more support to local community organisations and small businesses helping with the vaccine effort, and do more targeted communication, door-knocking, pop-up events and other neighbourhood schemes.
Also on the cards are more recruitment and training people to explain the benefits of the vaccine, particularly to young people.
Cllr Akoto added: “We know there’s much more still to do. Our successful funding bid will allow us to reach even more residents in the short and longer term by scaling up our current programme, helping us to continually adapt to the ongoing impact of Covid-19…
“Underpinning all this work must be an understanding of the barriers that might prevent certain groups from taking up the vaccine. We know there’s a stark inequity in vaccine uptake across the borough, with residents from black and ethnic minority communities much less likely to come forward for the jab. Funding will allow us to extend our existing network of community researchers and ensure we are fully listening and responding to our residents’ concerns.”
Southwark was one of the London boroughs with the highest levels of Covid cases before Christmas, but has dropped off markedly over the past few weeks.
Some 28 London boroughs have been given grants of between £185,000 and £485,000 by the government to boost the vaccine rollout.