Council Urges “More Personalised Approach”

According to figures supplied by the Sussex Health and Care Partnership, the percentage of over 50s in the county who had been jabbed at least once with a Covid-19 vaccine by the beginning of June was 96.1%. But the proportion of Hastings residents who have undergone vaccination appears to be considerably lower.

Jane Hartnell, managing director of Hastings Borough Council, told the council cabinet meeting last week that within the town there were around 6,500 within priority groups 1-9 – that’s over 50s plus all care home residents and their carers, frontline health and social care workers, and those with serious underlying health problems – who had not received any jabs, despite all efforts to facilitate access. 

Vaccination, she asserted, was vital.  “This is in effect now a race to increase community resilience and keep people out of hospital. The council has recently raised with health colleagues our concern that a more personalised approach to individuals who have not yet taken up the offer of vaccination is now urgently needed.”

Ms Hartnell started her address to cabinet by reporting that although infection rates in the town are currently “low” – there were just 28 cases tested positive for Covid-19 in the week ending 17th June – the Director of Public Health for East Sussex, Darrell Gale, had told her it was his personal view that there is now a “third wave” of the disease, “with the tide now rising”, especially in younger age groups and in educational settings. She described the NHS as “experiencing a surge in demand”, and described its workforce as “exhausted” and “desperately need[ing] time to recuperate”, though she gave no figures to suggest that there was any rise in the number of hospitalisations.

“It’s vital both to facilitate access to vaccination and to encourage as many people as possible to take up this offer as the only way to protect the community in our town.” 

The cabinet of six councillors – four in the council chamber with her, two more digitally linked – listened without comment and raised no questions.

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