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Covid vaccinations in Kent drop by 5% in the last week as under-40s given alternative after rare blood clot scare

The number of people having their Covid vaccination in Kent dropped by 5% in the last week.

Three areas - Dover, Folkestone and Hythe and Thanet - have given the first dose to 70% of their population as the total number of vaccines given reaches 1,388,212 in Kent.


Canterbury and Dartford remain the areas with the fewest people vaccinated at 61%, just below England's average of 64%.

On the week ending May 1 the number of vaccines administered fell slightly from 97,325 to 92,500.

Though first doses rose by 1,629 from 19,167 to 20,796, the second doses dropped by 6,454 from 78,158 to 71,704 as more over 40s were given their first dose.

Following health concerns around the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine's link to rare blood clots, under 40s will be offered an alternative vaccine as a precaution.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) say there are no new findings on the side-effects of the vaccine.


However, 49 deaths from clots out of 28.5 million doses given has spurred the precaution.

Previously, the MHRA has said the balance of risk for the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid is very favourable for older people but “more finely balanced” for younger groups, who do not tend to suffer serious coronavirus illness, adding that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine against Covid-19 continue to “outweigh the risks for the vast majority of adults”.

On the week ending April 24, Covid-19 cases rose by 29% as the impact of loosened restrictions began to show, but this week cases have dropped again by 16.9% to 259.

Across the Kent the infection rate remains low at 13.9 and even the highest infection rate of 22.4 in Sevenoaks is below the target of 25 set by Kent County Council's health team.

Folkestone and Hythe maintains the lowest infection rate at 9.7 with just 11 cases.

Source: Public Health England
Source: Public Health England

Though Folkestone and Hythe is one of five areas seeing slight rises in cases in the last week, with most only accounting for a handful of cases.

The most dramatic rise was seen in Sevenoaks where 12 more recorded cases caused a rise of 80% in the last week.

Though the overall drop is good news, a practice manager who is leading Sittingbourne's vaccination hub is urging people to not let things slip and to make sure they take up the offer of a vaccine to help keep down coronavirus infection rates.

Shaun Potter, practice manager of The Chestnuts Surgery in Sittingbourne, said: "By the end of this month, everyone aged 40 and above should be done, that's what we're working on.

"The uptake has been amazing. We're seeing a really strong uptake still; it hasn't dwindled. And, even now, we have not wasted a single vaccine since we started this programme.

"I would still say that anyone who is offered should get vaccinated, especially over the next few months as we start to see an easing of restrictions.

Shaun Potter who is leading the vaccination hub at Sittingbourne's Age UK centre in Avenue of Remembrance
Shaun Potter who is leading the vaccination hub at Sittingbourne's Age UK centre in Avenue of Remembrance

"You don't have to be unwell yourself to be able to spread the virus. It's really important that we continue to vaccinate and make sure people are safe.

"We have worked really damn hard across the whole NHS to get the numbers down, and the public have gone through lockdowns and so on, so it's really important now that people maintain that caution.

"Why work so hard for something and just let it go by not having the vaccine? The risk is still there."

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