NEARLY 1,000 over 50s in Swindon have failed to take up the offer of a Covid jab despite being invited to book one more than two months ago.

People aged 50 and over have been invited to book their first jab through the NHS since March 17.

But the figures published by NHS England show 935 people in the town aged 50 and over had still to receive a first vaccination dose as of May 30 – one per cent of the age group based on latest population estimates from the Office for National Statistics.

The figure was highest in the Haydon Wick neighbourhood where 3.6 per cent of over 50s had not received a Covid jab at this point.

Three-quarters of the adult population in England have had their first dose, while more than half are fully vaccinated.

But there are fears the hesitancy could slow the race against the virus as the dominant Delta variant claims more cases. Across England, four per cent of people aged 50 and over – 800,600 adults – had not been vaccinated as of May 30.

Last month, the NHS released separate data on ethnicity showing vaccine uptake in England among black Caribbean people was the lowest, with 37 per cent of those aged 50 and over unvaccinated by May 7.

The group with the highest uptake was white British, with just five per cent unvaccinated.

The data also showed nine per cent of people aged 50 and over in the most deprived areas were unvaccinated, compared to two per cent in the most affluent.

Labour’s shadow women and equalities secretary, Marsha de Cordova, said the vaccination programme had “exacerbated existing health inequalities of race and ethnicity.

"These next few weeks are crucial in containing outbreaks of the Delta variant - increasing vaccine uptake must be ministers’ number one priority.”

Despite this, NHS England said vaccine uptake in black British and Asian communities tripled between February and April.

NHS national medical director for primary care Dr Nikki Kanani, said this was achieved through talks with faith leaders and pop-up clinics in places of worship and community centres.

Strong backing from celebrities strong also helped to encourage people.

A study by PHE found that protection against the Delta variant is only 33 per cent after a first dose of vaccine, but at least 60 per cent after a second.

NHS lead for the Covid-19 vaccination programme, Dr Emily Lawson, said it was key people booked their second jab.

She added: “Getting both doses is what will give everyone the maximum possible protection against Covid.”