COVID: More than a quarter of Liverpudlians still unvaccinated as BA4 and BA5 variant cases surge

The city has the lowest vaccination rate in the North West of England.

More than 10 million people in the UK, including 3.7 million adults, remain unvaccinated against COVID-19 as the NHS creaks under the strain of the latest wave.

The news comes as figures from the Office for National Statistics show COVID rates in the UK are at their highest for three months.

The BA.4. and BA.5 variants continue to drive high infection rates, with an estimated 3.8 million people having COVID last week, a rise of a quarter of a million from the week before.

The ONS have stopped publishing coronavirus infection rates at local-level and while it says the move is temporary, it has not been able to say when they will resume.

However, NHS England data running to July 3 shows that 25.5% of the eligable population in Liverpool, aproximately 120,221 people, remain unvaccinated against COVID.

That is the highest rate in the North West - with Manchester coming in second at 23.6% - and the 13th highest in England.

With some exceptions, everyone over the age of five is eligible for a COVID vaccination in the UK.

This interactive map shows how vaccination rates vary in each area in the Liverpool City Region and England. The darker the colour of the council, the higher the proportion of unvaccinated people.


Despite plans for another booster rollout later this year, the figures suggest there is still widespread vaccine hesitancy amongst some of the population.

Last week, the Public Accounts Committee called on health chiefs to redouble their efforts to reach the unvaccinated to cut the risk of COVID deaths. The committee urged NHS England and the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to “urgently evaluate” which methods are most effective in increasing vaccine uptake and called for a new approach to tackle low coverage in some ethnic groups.

The latest wave is being driven by highly contagious Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5. Health experts have said the vaccines still give high protection from severe disease and death and are urging all eligible people to get immunised.

In England, 8.8 million people aged five and over (16.6%) are still unvaccinated, including just under three million adults, NHS England data running to 3 July shows.

The programme has been running since December 2020 with boosters delivered last winter and a further fourth dose administered to the elderly and vulnerable earlier this year. Children aged five and older were invited for their first doses in spring.

The analysis comes as the Office for National Statistics announced this week that more than 200,000 COVID deaths have been recorded in the UK since the start of the pandemic.

‘Get vaccinated’

The latest technical briefing published by the UKHSA stated that there is not yet sufficient data for a robust assessment of current vaccine effectiveness against BA.4 and BA.5.

However, the UKHSA has found that there are no early indicators of a large change in effectiveness of the vaccines.

Dr Mary Ramsay, director of clinical programmes at the UKHSA, urged everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated.

“Covid-19 case rates and hospitalisations continue to rise, although the rate of increase appears to be slowing. Those aged 75 and over who have not taken up the offer of the spring booster put themselves at risk of severe disease.

“We urge all those who are eligible for the spring booster to take up the offer as soon as possible. Anyone who has not yet had their first or second dose, should also get up-to-date with their jabs to give themselves the best possible protection.”

An autumn booster rollout is currently being planned for vulnerable adults and frontline workers later this year.