Covid Scotland: Vaccine uptake as low as 47 per cent in young people in deprived areas

Fewer than one in two young people are taking up the Covid vaccine in some of the most deprived areas in Scotland, new figures have revealed.

The stark statistics emerged as the Scottish Government faces increasing pressure to encourage vaccination in younger age groups.

Despite invitations being sent to all adults, fewer than 70 per cent of 18 to 29-year-olds have received a first vaccine dose, compared to 100 per cent in age groups above 55.

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For those in that age group living in the most deprived areas the coverage is even lower, at just 53 per cent, compared to up to 68 per cent in some less deprived groups as of July 13, according to a report from Public Health Scotland

Picture: PA Media

Charities aiming to reduce poverty and inequality in Scotland have labelled the figures a “real cause for concern” and called on the Scottish Government to increase vaccine uptake in deprived groups.

Among the most deprived young people in Lothian, uptake is 47 per cent, while in Fife it is 48 per cent, and in Glasgow and Grampian it is 50 per cent.

READ MORE: Covid Scotland: Plea for young people to take up vaccine after second lowest daily doses on record

Vaccination rates are also much lower in ethnic minority groups.

Just 46 per cent of people of African, Caribbean or black ethnicity aged between 18 and 29 have had a first dose, along with 54 per cent of Asians.

Coverage in white people in the same age group is 69 per cent.

Peter Kelly, director of the Poverty Alliance, said the figures were a “real cause for concern”.

He said: “It is vital that there is a concerted effort to ensure that everyone can access the vaccine. To do this we need to get the message right.

"General public health messages do not always work for all groups in society, so those responsible need to make sure that messages are tailored to reach everyone.

“We also need to remove any practical barriers that may exist. That means ensuring that vaccination centres are located in areas of disadvantage, and that any transport barriers are removed. Involving trusted community groups in supporting vaccine rollout would also help.

“Rates of vaccination amongst older people living in low-income neighbourhoods is already high. We now need to ensure similar rates of take-up amongst all age groups to ensure that no-one is left behind.”

Chris Birt, deputy director for Scotland at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said: “Covid-19 has shone a harsh light on the injustice of the unacceptable levels of poverty in Scotland.

"People on low incomes have been more likely to catch Covid-19 and sadly die from it. As a result, it is vital that NHS Scotland make every effort to maximise vaccine uptake for those on low incomes as a key part of our work to reduce health inequalities that exist in Scotland.”

READ MORE: Ian Blackford accuses Boris Johnson of 'actively pushing to allow the virus to run rampant' over Dominic Cummings claims

In the 2011 census, around 141,000 Scots were identified as of Asian ethnicity, while around 30,000 were identified as African and just under 7,000 as black or Caribbean.

Scottish Labour’s health spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “These figures should be a reminder that there is no space for complacency on the vaccine rollout.

“We clearly need to do more to reach ethnic minority communities and crucially to understand the various concerns and the barriers that may be stopping people from getting vaccinated.

“Ethnic minority people have already been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, and we need to ensure they are not put at higher risk again by low vaccination rates.”

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