A PUBLIC health official has revealed why Slough has a low Covid-19 vaccine uptake – but mass vaccination plans could be set in place to bump it up.

According to the government website, Slough has one of the lowest Covid vaccine uptakes in Berkshire with 79,160 people having their first jab and 46,727 taking their second.

In comparison, neighbouring Windsor and Maidenhead have seen 96,743 residents being given their first vaccine and Reading has seen 55,149 people jabbed for the second time.

At a Slough Outbreak Engagement Board meeting on Wednesday, June 9, the data concerned councillor Rob Anderson (Lab: Britwell and Northborough), lead member for transport and environmental service, who wondered if the borough had a high hesitancy rate.

He said: “We are massively down on the national average. We’ve got less than 50,000 people in the town who are fully vaccinated, which means way less than a third of our population.

“We know the Delta variant you need to be fully vaccinated to have protection from it.”

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Sue Foley, public health consultant for the council, said Slough has always had a low vaccine uptake pre-pandemic, such as the flu jab, and the Covid-vaccine figures are “very good” when comparing it with other vaccines.

Another reason could be due to the borough having a high young population where only recently the over 25s cohort was called to get their jab.

Ms Foley said: “Hopefully, now that we’re opening up a little bit more, then our numbers will increase to reflect that younger population.”

On the older cohorts, Kate Pratt, communications manager, added concerns of rare blood clots from the AstraZeneca vaccine had a “big impact” in Slough in terms of people not coming forward.

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It has been reported by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and other bodies there is no established link or evidence that particular vaccine caused the rare clots.

The government decided to give the under-30s cohort alternative vaccines to AstraZeneca in a bid to ease concerns over the jab and encourage more people to come forward.

However, Kate Pratt said they have seen a lot of young people ‘eager’ to get their vaccine as soon as they were entitled.

In a bid to increase the vaccination rate in Slough, the council is working on plans to implement ‘surge’ drop-in vaccination centres and buses, which could be introduced in venues such as mosques and Gurdwaras.

On Saturday, June 12, the vaccination centre in Salt Hill Activity Centre will be offering a walk-in service, which means you don’t need to book, for all Slough residents 18 and over to get their jab.

Other initiatives the council, the public health team, and community champions are doing is engaging with faith and other community groups to accurate information on the vaccines to ease off hesitancy.