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STEP UP THE VACCINES: Knowsley to increase vaccine efforts


Knowsley vaccine centres to increase as cases of coronavirus increase right across Merseyside.

Knowsley’s vaccination programme is to be stepped up in the face of soaring coronavirus infection rates on Merseyside, the council leader has announced.

Cllr Graham Morgan said he was “increasingly concerned” about the level of vaccine take-up in the borough, which once had the highest infection rate in the country.

Speaking at a Knowsley Council cabinet meeting on Wednesday June 16, Cllr Morgan said: “It is quite clear that the people in the North West of the country face a much greater risk.”

He added: “I am increasingly concerned that the local vaccination programme being led by Knowsley CCG [Clinical Commissioning Group] needs to do more to maximise local take-up.”

In light of his concerns, he said he had asked the local CCG to set up large-scale vaccination centres with extended opening hours in Halewood, Huyton, Kirkby and Prescot to ensure that all eligible residents could access the vaccine.

He also called for “pop-up” vaccination centres to be established on the premises of major employers in the borough and in areas such as Stockbridge Village, Northwood and Page Moss with poor transport links and low vaccination rates, setting a deadline of two weeks’ time for improvements to be made.

The latest figures show Knowsley’s vaccination rate lagging behind other parts of Merseyside with just 60% of the total population having received one dose of the vaccine. Only Liverpool has a lower vaccination rate compared to the rest of the city region.

The number of jabs given out each week in Knowsley also appears to have slowed over the past few weeks, falling from 9,885 total doses in the week ending May 23 to 7,361 doses in the first week of June.
Meanwhile, cases of Covid-19 continue to double every week, reaching more than 100 per 100,000 residents on Monday.

Earlier in the day, Cllr Morgan said he had now written twice to health secretary Matt Hancock and vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi to ask for more vaccines to be allocated to places like Knowsley and the council to be given more flexibility about who it could vaccinate.

He said: “As of today, we still haven’t had a reply to either of these requests, so it seems like our request is going to be denied regardless of the government’s duty to act now to help the people who most need help.

“So, whilst I welcome the news that the government recognises that the impact here is more severe, the fact is that this latest announcement falls well short of offering the real assistance which we need if we are to deal with the issues locally.
“If we are to stop this latest spread of the virus, we need proactive and meaningful support from government – not just PR.”

Written by Chris McKeon, Local Democracy Reporter

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