Anonymized data from more than 2.6 million patients across North-West London was used to provide real-time information on how patients were accessing and using healthcare services, including COVID-19 vaccination, according to a news release from Imperial College London.
This data allowed researchers to monitor COVID-19 vaccine uptake in the early stages of the roll-out and to identify strategies for increasing take-up through community engagement interventions, explained Erik Mayer, from Imperial College London’s Department of Surgery and Cancer and Director of the NIHR Imperial BRC iCARE group. He discussed the research at a recent Academic Health Science Centre (AHSC) online seminar how real-world data was used to inform vaccination strategy in London.
Mayer's work aimed to answer questions around which demographic groups were more likely to decline the offer of vaccination, whether vaccination hubs contributed to COVID transmission, and how effective the vaccines were at reducing the risk of infection.
Mayer’s research showed that vaccine hesitancy was strongly correlated with socioeconomic deprivation, with people living in the most deprived areas declining the offer of vaccination at a rate 13 times higher than those in the most affluent areas.
The data showed that there were variations in vaccine uptake between ethnic groups, especially in the elderly and clinically extremely vulnerable parts of the population — where vaccine hesitancy was particularly pronounced among the “Black or Black British” and “Mixed” groups.
Mayer said, “Overall, the North-West London vaccine hesitancy rate, or declining rate, was about 6%. However, it is also important to remember that in patients offered a vaccine who initially declined about 1% of those went on to have the vaccine.”
He added that there was “no evidence” in the data to suggest that vaccination hubs contributed to COVID-19 transmission, as the rate of positive cases for people in the first two weeks after vaccination was lower (at 0.09%) than the background rate of positive cases in the wider population (0.19%).