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Kent NHS bosses confident people will take up the second jab as three areas fully vaccinate 50% of residents


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Three areas in Kent have half their population fully vaccinated.

Kent NHS bosses remain confident residents living in the county will take up the second Covid jab, despite a lower turnout than the first.

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On the week ending May 23, 100,078 more people were given the Covid-19 vaccine, down from 103,162 the previous week.

Of these, 33,806 were first doses and 66,272 were second doses - bringing the total number of people fully vaccinated up to 645,543.

A total of 1,693,382 vaccines have been administered in Kent.

Dover (51%), Folkestone and Hythe (53%) and Thanet (51%) have now fully vaccinated more than half of the population.

Thanet has administered the most first doses with 79% getting the jab.

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Medway has the lowest number of people who are fully vaccinated with just 39% of the population getting both jabs.

There are around 1.8million Kent residents and 73% of people aged 18 and over have been given a first jab while 45% have taken up a second dose.

Some concerns were raised about the lower uptake for the second jab during a virtual meeting of Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group's (CCG) governing body earlier today.

Dr Sarah MacDermott, who works at Meopham Medical Centre, said she was "surprised" that 86% of Kent care home residents and carers had received a second jab.

There are around 300 older people's care homes based in Kent. These are classed as a top priority, with 100% of residents receiving a first dose.

Sarah MacDermott from the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Picture: CCG
Sarah MacDermott from the Dartford, Gravesham and Swanley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). Picture: CCG

Meanwhile, only 20% of county residents aged 50 to 60 have taken up a second Pfzier or AstraZeneca jab compared to 87.5% who took the first dose.

Dr MacDermott questioned the reasons behind the issue and said: "I hope this will go up soon and it is not because people are not taking up the vaccine."

Her comments came during a virtual meeting involving a panel of Kent GPs, public health directors and NHS leaders.

Paula Wilkins, the CCG's chief nurse, said that there was a steady and "slow" increase in the number of residents taking up the second dose as the roll out continues, with people aged over 30 invited to take their first jab.

On care homes, she said: "There are some logistical issues that we are working through. All care homes are on track to be vaccinated."

Paula Wilkins, chief nurse of the Kent and Medway CCG. Picture: Kent and Medway CCG
Paula Wilkins, chief nurse of the Kent and Medway CCG. Picture: Kent and Medway CCG

Vaccinations are currently being provided by GP services, pharmacies and several large hubs in the county, including those in Gravesend, Thanet and Chatham.

A new Covid-19 vaccination centre opened in Canterbury Sea Cadet building, in Vauxhall Road, which is geared up to inoculate 2,500 people a week.

Prison health services have also vaccinated people detained in custody.

Caroline Selkirk, the CCG's executive director of health improvement, described the effort as "phenomenal" and said: "We are working swiftly through the second dose.

"We must pay tribute to our volunteers for being a part of this tremendous programme that is very much saving people's lives."

Source: Public Health England
Source: Public Health England

Cases have taken a slight upturn by 31.7% in the last week as 220 were found in Kent on the week ending May 22 bringing the infection rate up to 11.83.

The vast majority of cases were found in Canterbury where 60 were recorded in the last week, bringing the infection rate up to 36.3.

Only four areas - Thanet, Swale, Tunbridge Wells and Folkestone and Hythe - have not seen a rise in cases since the country significantly relaxed lockdown rules on May 17.

Folkestone and Hythe maintains the lowest infection rate with just four cases recorded in the last week bringing the infection rate to 3.5.

Earlier this week, Dartford's council leader says they are being "very cautious" and constantly monitoring Covid-19 data after a new variant emerged in the town.

Testing was also ramped up at the University of Kent after someone on the Canterbury campus tested positive with the new variant.

Data running up to May 14 shows 29 cases of the Indian variant have been found in Kent.

Additional reporting by Ciaran Duggan

To read more about last week's Covid-19 cases and vaccination statistics, click here.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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