A coronavirus vaccine festival in London that cost almost £240,000 and only 435 people were bitten in four days. The summer festival in Langdon Park was organized by Tower Hamlets Council last year to encourage more locals to get their Covid shots.
But the prospect of live music and free food was not enough to attract visitors as the festival was largely empty throughout. A Freedom of Information request sent to Tower Hamlets Council revealed that the four-day festival in July and August 2021 cost the council £237,235 to operate. This included a stage, live performers, food stalls and centers to get the Covid vaccine. However, when the festival was held between July 30 and August 2, only 435 people were bitten.
This means the council spent £535.36 per vaccine at the festival. The FOI request also showed that the council had not recorded the total number of people who attended the festival. Residents and media reported attendance was low over the four days, with long stretches of hardly anyone around the main stage.
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Free food vouchers were handed out to festival-goers while Pfizer first and second shots were also on offer. Tower Hamlets has seen one of the lowest vaccine uptakes in the UK throughout the pandemic – prompting the council to launch a vaccination campaign to encourage residents to get vaccinated.
Vaccination rates in Tower Hamlets remain unusually low – just 55.7% of residents there have received all three Covid shots, according to official government figures. This figure is significantly lower than the UK national average of 67.6%. Only 74.6% of Tower Hamlets residents have received the first coronavirus vaccine and 70.8% have received their second since the rollout began last year.
This is significantly lower than the UK-wide average of 91.9% and 86%, respectively. A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council said: “Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, we have worked hard to keep Tower Hamlets safe, including vaccinating as many residents as possible and working to tackle the vaccine hesitancy.
“The vaccination event at Langdon Park, funded by central government Covid-19 grants, was set up to help vaccinate young residents, where data showed low uptake in this group. Councils across the country were actively encouraged to use the funding to deliver vaccines in new and innovative ways, which is important in efforts to address vaccine hesitancy and low uptake in particular groups.
“Every vaccine in a resident’s arm helps prevent serious illness from Covid-19, boost immunity and keep people safe. We continue to work to increase vaccination rates through new approaches, including our mobile vaccination bus, events and clinics in community spaces. »