Public health chiefs call for more data on jab take-up

By Ann McGauran | 24 February 2021

Councils still lack the detailed data they need on COVID vaccination take-up to tackle inequities and reduce transmission, public health experts said this week.

Upper-tier data was shared with directors of public health at the start of this month.

But vice-president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, Jim McManus, said: ‘Despite what NHS England say, we haven’t got the granularity of the data we need.’

Data suggests Black, Asian and minority ethnic people, as well as those in more deprived communities, are less likely to agree to receiving the COVID vaccine. To enable councils to tackle inequities in uptake, Professor McManus said ethnicity data was needed at lower super output areas, which have an average population of 1,500 people.

Writing on The MJ’s website this week, he added: ‘Granular data, which lets us pinpoint inequalities in take up and monitor them, is crucial. It’s coming, but it’s a work in progress still.’

Director of public health at Gateshead MBC, Alice Wiseman, said: ‘We know how many people have had a vaccine, but we haven’t got the data yet at a sufficient level to tell us how many people have been offered a vaccine and not taken it.’

The Local Government Association has continued to push for ‘faster and more granular’ vaccine data to be made public to help improve the reach into communities, with the sector calling for information on vaccine take-up at ward level.

Responding this week, an NHS spokesperson said in a statement to The MJ: ‘Granular data covering very small populations broken down by age and ethnicity are already being shared on a daily basis confidentially with public health directors,  alongside the regular publication of national, regional and local CCG uptake data. 

‘This means that very localised data can already be accessed regularly by local directors of public health, as Mr McManus suggests, while nevertheless maintaining public trust in the vaccination programme by protecting individual medical confidentiality and the identities of people in those areas.

‘If, exceptionally, even more specific data is needed which runs the risk of de-anonymisation, the relevant public health director can request and discuss that with their local CCG or GP-led primary care network.’

Some directors of public health have also called for a small percentage of vaccine supply to be controlled locally.

www.themj.co.uk/coronavirus

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