Mayor Sadiq Khan said he “fully expects” the number of jabs to speed up towards the end of this week as batches arrive at new vaccination centres opening their doors across the capital. Latest NHS data shows London has administered the lowest number of coronavirus vaccines in England so far.
A total of 439,691 Londoners were vaccinated between December 8 and January 18, including 51,254 who have been given second doses, and 388,437 first doses.
This compares with 779,437 doses administered in the Midlands, 705,169 in the North East and Yorkshire, 566,439 in the North West, 677,096 in the South East, 478,577 in the South West and 447,135 in the East of England.
Asked for an explanation of why the capital was apparently lagging behind, NHS London replied by claiming it had “got off to a strong start”. It said London had received a “fair share” of vaccine.
Meanwhile, it emerged that the Mayor was promised faster supplies of the vaccine to London when he met the minister in charge of roll-out, Nadhim Zahawi. Sources said Mr Zahawi gave assurances there would be a “greater volume” of vaccine supplies from this week onwards for a “significant escalation” of roll-out.
The NHS has opened major vaccination sites at the ExCeL centre, Epsom racecourse and by Wembley Stadium. An extra 100 smaller sites are due to open this week.
Mr Khan said he felt “greatly encouraged” by the assurances. “The supply of vaccines and the number of places across London where people can get a jab will both now increase,” he said.
“Towards the end of the week, I fully expect to see an increase in the number of vaccinations in London.”
Asked why London’s figures appeared so poor, a spokesman for the NHS in London said: “The NHS coronavirus vaccination programme, the biggest in the health service’s history, has got off to a strong start, with hundreds of thousands of Londoners receiving their first vaccination against Covid.
“London is getting its fair share of vaccine supply for the priority groups we have to vaccinate by mid-February.”
A deadline for all elderly residents in care homes to be vaccinated appears to have been postponed by a week.
In a letter to vaccine roll-out managers last week, the NHS said homes should be completed this week or “at the latest, by the end of next week (January 24)”.
However, speaking on Sky News this morning, Cabinet minister Brandon Lewis said care homes would be completed by “the end of the month”.