London is ‘holding whole country back’ says Andrew Marr
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Andrew Marr pointed out the vaccination rollout across London had been “holding the whole country back” as millions had yet to take up the offer to receive their coronavirus jab. The BBC presenter questioned Sadiq Khan whether he accepted responsibility for failure to drive numbers up. Mr Khan insisted the vaccination rate has been increasing thanks to the mass vaccination centres being set up across London at the weekends.
Mr Marr said: “It is everywhere around London and yet 40 percent of Londoners are not vaccinated. Do you take responsibility for that?”
The London Mayor said: “I do, but let’s start with the good news which is, as a global city, we’re doing far better than other global cities.
“The first jab was only administered 200 days ago and now we’ve got more than 8.5 million Londoners having had at least one dose and 3.5 million having had both doses.
“The reason is, although the case number is going up, hospital numbers have now stabilised and are far lower than wave one or wave two.”
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Mr Khan’s response however failed to satisfy Andrew Marr, who hit back: “And yet, if you look at London inside the UK, London is between 14 and 17 percent worse than the next worse region.
“In other words, London is holding the whole country back at the moment. Why is London such a problem in terms of vaccination?”
The Mayor of London said: “Well, we’re not that far behind, we’re about eight percent behind.
“The reason why we’ve got challenges in London is the population is younger, it’s more mobile, it’s more diverse. We’re less likely to be registered with a GP which means normal, official chances of communication and texting to your patient aren’t there.
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“But also we have a large migrant population as well, less likely to be registered with a GP but also less likely to share their data to receive their jab.
“The good news is last weekend, we had more than 150,000 Londoners receiving their jab with our mass vaccination centers.”
Hundreds of walk-in vaccination sites including stadiums and shopping centres were set up across England this weekend in a drive to have people jabbed as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.
NHS England chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the country was in a “race to the finish line” in its vaccination programme as summer freedoms loom.
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The “grab a jab” campaign comes as the UK recorded a further 18,270 lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Saturday – the highest number recorded since February 5.
Sir Simon said: “With more than 63 million jabs already delivered by the NHS in England, we’re now in a race to the finish line, and with this new online service, it is easier than ever to find a convenient place to get your vaccine.
“With every jab give, we are one step closer to our summer freedoms.”
Some 75,963,777 jabs have been given in the UK up to June 24, of which 43,877,861 were first doses.
The Government has set a target of July 19 for offering a first dose to all adults – the date when the final stage of lockdown easing is scheduled to go ahead.
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