A quarter of adults in Preston have yet to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, figures suggest – as the Government launches plans to offer booster shots in the autumn.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appealed to the millions of people across the UK who have not yet taken up the offer of a coronavirus vaccine to finally get the jab to help the country avoid tougher restrictions over the winter.
NHS England data shows 97,761 people aged 18 and over in Preston had received a first dose of the vaccine by September 13.
But this means that 30,870 remain unvaccinated – around 24 per cent of all adults in the area, based on the number of people on the National Immunisation Management Service.
Those aged 18-29 have the highest refusal rates in the area, with 39.1 per cent yet to get a jab, followed by the 30-39 age bracket (34.7 per cent).
A higher proportion of children aged 16 and 17 are unvaccinated (50.1 per cent), but they were offered the jab much later than others.
At the other end of the scale, just 4.4 per cent of those aged 80-89 have not received their first vaccine.
Around 10.8 per cent of the UK population aged 16 and above have not taken up the offer of a Covid-19 vaccine.
As the Prime Minister launched his plan to “live” with the disease through the coming months, his chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said getting vaccination levels up was the key to keeping case numbers down and maintaining lighter controls.
He said: “There are five million or so people who are eligible for vaccines now who haven’t been vaccinated.
“Trying to persuade those people it is the right thing to do to get vaccinated would make a significant difference.
“The immunity is really important to keep this down and allows lighter measures to be put in place to keep it under control.”
Mr Johnson said additional measures could include vaccine passports, as well as the return of face masks in public places and encouraging people to work from home.
However, he said the “priority” was to get everyone possible vaccinated, insisting that it was in their own interests to get protected.
The Government said that vaccine protection was holding up "very well" against the disease, but there was evidence that it was fading – particularly in those who are most vulnerable.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed booster shots will be offered from next week (September 20) to maintain protection levels as the country enters the autumn.
It will be available for people aged 50 and over, care home residents, health and social care workers, 16 to 49 year-olds with underlying health conditions, adult carers, and adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals.
Meanwhile, estimates from the Office for National Statistics show there are around 7,077 12-15 year-olds in Preston who will be offered their first jab.