Brighton councillor shocked after finding out why some in the city have not had Covid-19 vaccinations

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People can walk in for vaccines at The Brighton Centre
People can walk in for vaccines at The Brighton Centre

A councillor was shocked to find three very different attitudes to coronavirus vaccinations when she went out and about encouraging people to have the jab.

Some were pleased to have had their jab but others either hadn’t been bothered or were affected by hostility to the vaccines.

Labour councillor Amanda Grimshaw spoke out after delivering leaflets urging people to have the vaccine in north Moulsecoomb, an area with the lowest vaccination rate in Brighton and Hove.

She was surprised to hear about an elderly couple whose family members had put them off having the jab.

The Moulsecoomb and Bevendean councillor had thought the low level of vaccination in the area was linked to the nature of the local population, with a significant number of transient students. Some 44 per cent have had their first dose of the vaccine and just 23 per cent have had both doses in the North Moulsecoomb and Coldean area, including Stanmer and Falmer.

As she gave out leaflets urging people to go to a walk-in vaccination bus at St George’s Hall, in Newick Road, the first person she spoke to was a woman whose brother died from Covid-19. But elderly relatives were being discouraged from taking up the vaccine.

Councillor Grimshaw said: “I was shocked when a woman called me back to talk to me. She wanted to tell me about the situation where she has lost her brother but in her family the elderly relatives were being fed rubbish. I was even more shocked that her brother had died and, in a close family grouping following a young death, they were fed propaganda.

“They were told they were being used as guinea pigs.

“The woman was doubled vaccinated and made a point of saying these family members are quite elderly and have health issues, making them vulnerable. Yet they were being told not to do it.”

Councillor Grimshaw told a group of students that they had no excuse for failing to have the vaccine.

She said: “One of them said, we were down for vaccination and we never got around to it. They were told to go and it fell off the radar. I handed him the leaflet and said, ‘There’s no excuse. It’s around the corner’.”

At least 22 people attended the drop-in vaccination bus when it visited St George’s Hall last Wednesday (July 28).

Councillors are working with the NHS and community groups to encourage more people to have the jab.

Brighton and Hove City Council’s Green leader Phélim Mac Cafferty has been out with the council’s communities and equalities team to encourage people to visit pop-up vaccination sites.

Councillor Mac Cafferty represents Brunswick and Adelaide ward which has the third-lowest take up rate in Brighton and Hove.

In the Brunswick area, 59 per cent of over 18s have had their first dose and 42 per cent have had their second dose. The second lowest vaccination rate is in The Lanes and the North Laine area.

The highest number of vaccinations in Brighton and Hove took place on Saturday, March 20, when more than 4,000 had their jabs.

Since the start of last month, vaccination levels have fallen from more than 800 a day to a seven-day average of 157 a day.

Across Brighton and Hove, 73 per cent of people in total have had their first dose and 54 per cent the second.

The rate is higher than Southampton, Reading, Birmingham, Manchester and several London boroughs.