Booster vaccination rates in student areas

If the booster is our best bet, how are things looking where students live?

David Kernohan is an Associate Editor of Wonkhe

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Well, here we all are again.

The emerging consensus (and this is very much a moving target as more evidence arrives) is that the Omicron variant is as severe as (or slightly less severe than) Delta, but is substantially more infectious – that latter attribute coupled with a dismaying ability to infect people who already have antibodies.

The upshot is that we are facing another grim end of year. In Scotland people are urged to keep celebrations “as small as your family circumstances allow”, and to limit socialising before or immediately after Christmas day to no more than three households. In England the return of masks, mandatory testing for the unvaccinated to attend larger events, and daily testing for those with infectious contact, will surely soon be joined by further advice. In Wales restrictions are still very much on the cards.

If you are vaccinated (and recently boosted) you are less likely to be hospitalised – so much official effort is focused on getting boosters into arms. But the age-stratified rollout of vaccinations mean that the young are most likely to be looking for a first or second dose than a booster. In all cases any recent vaccination (whether number 1, 2, or 3) is a very good thing.

Here’s a dashboard showing vaccination status as a proportion of the registered population in those MSOA small areas. I’ve included the traditional cross-plot with students in residence (in 2018-19 – the last “normal” year) in that area. You can select a local authority area at the top and then examine individual areas via the plot or the map. The mouseover shows details for all three vaccination points (dose 1, dose 2, booster), though I’ve used the booster for the y-axis and the map colour.

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As we’d expect, areas with a higher proportion of students in residence are less likely to show a high proportion of residence who have had a booster (or indeed another vaccine). Student residence still acts as a good proxy for average age. You’ll also see a town centre effect – even non-student towns and cities tend to have younger and less permanent residents in the city centre. And, if you choose a locality you know well, you’ll see a dismaying tendency for less-advantaged areas to have a lower proportion with vaccines and boosters.

Omicron means that Covid-19 case numbers are likely to grow very quickly – as we have already seen in London and will most likely now see elsewhere. As soon as public health England fixes its data download I’ll get the Wonkhe Covid-19 case dashboard back up to date – I’ll be, sadly, once again keeping a close eye on cases in student areas.

One response to “Booster vaccination rates in student areas

  1. Student booster rates don’t really matter now, as the Christmas balls and end of year events have all been super-spreader events. The excreta is now impacting the extractor. 30 cases a week ago, almost 300 today, all Delta…

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