Take-up of Covid-19 first doses slows as UK nears vaccination ceiling

Take-up of first doses of Covid-19 vaccine is continuing to slow in all four nations of the UK, indicating demand might be nearing a ceiling, according to analysis by the PA news agency.

In England, the average number of first doses delivered each day stood at 69,292 as of July 11, down from 109,752 one week earlier and less than half the number two weeks earlier (167,731).

An estimated 87.0% of adults in England have now received a first dose of vaccine, up only slightly from 85.9% in the previous week.

Coronavirus graphic
(PA Graphics)

A similar trend is evident in the other nations:

– Wales has given a first dose to the equivalent of 90.1% of its adult population. This is the highest of any of the four nations, but is barely changed from 89.8% a week ago. The average number of first doses delivered each day in Wales is currently 1,350, down from 1,680 a week ago and 2,215 two weeks ago.

– In Scotland, daily first doses have fallen from an average of 16,849 two weeks ago to 9,312, with an estimated 88.7% of adults having had one jab.

– Northern Ireland has seen its daily average drop from 2,741 two weeks ago to 1,761, with 81.6% of adults having had a first dose.

The figures, which have been compiled by the PA news agency from the latest available data, could indicate all four nations might be approaching a ceiling of first doses – in other words, are running out of people who want a jab.

While take-up has been high among most ages, there are some groups where the level is comparatively low.

Vaccination rates tend to be highest among older age groups – though not the very old – and lowest among young adults.

In England, at least 95% of people aged between 55 and 79 are estimated to have had their first dose, with 94% of those aged 80 and over, according to NHS England figures for vaccines up to July 4.

At least 80% of those aged 35 and over have now had their first jab.

But the figure drops to around 76% for 30-35 year-olds, 65% for 25-29 year-olds and just 57% of 18-24 year-olds.

All adults in England have been able to book a first dose since June 17 – about two and a half weeks before the latest snapshot of vaccinations by age.

Coronavirus graphic
(PA Graphics)

There is also a “gender gap” that has opened up in these younger age groups.

While about 61% of women aged 18-24 have received their first dose, the figure is only around 52% for men.

For 25-29 year-olds, the estimates are 68% of women and 61% of men.

The figures are higher for 30 to 34-year-olds, but there is a still a gap: 78% of women and 73% of men.

A breakdown by gender is not available for the other three nations, but the pattern is similar when contrasting young and old age ranges.

In Wales, 90% of adults in all age groups over 55 have received one dose, compared with 73% of 18-29 year-olds.

And in both Scotland and Northern Ireland, 90% of adults in all groups over 50 have had their first jab, compared with 65% and 55% of 18-29 year-olds respectively.