More people aged 50 and over in Southend have opted against having the Covid vaccine than in all other parts of Essex.

NHS England data shows 4,978 people in the 50 and over category have not yet come forward for their Covid jab – despite being eligible for more than two months.

That equates to seven in every 100 people in the borough, based on population estimates by the Office for National Statistics.

The neighbourhood of Belfairs has the highest number of over 50s who have yet to receive their first jab, with 9.2 per cent.

By contrast, the national average for the 50 and overs who have not booked their jabs by May 30 is four per cent.

Thurrock has the second highest vaccine hesitancy in south Essex in the over 50s, with 3,437 – or six in 100 people – yet to have a jab.

In Basildon, 2,469 people aged 50 and over haven’t had a jab and in Castle Point, the figure stands at 1,661.

Both numbers equate to about four in every 100 people.

But in the neighbourhood of Basildon Central and Pipps Hill, that number rises to 14.6 people per 100.

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Regionally, London had the lowest uptake with 11 per cnet of people aged 50 and over unvaccinated, while the South West had the highest, with just two per cent unvaccinated.

In the East of England, three per cent of people aged 50 and over were unvaccinated.

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

The group with the highest uptake was white British, with 5% unvaccinated.

Dr Perpetua Emeagi, a lecturer in human biology and biological sciences at Liverpool Hope University, said not enough information had been given to ease a deep scepticism surrounding the production of vaccines among the black, Asian and minority ethnic community.

She said: “Materials on the Government website are perhaps tricky to find and are aimed predominantly at health professionals rather than the average person.

“We need to do more to get this information out to those with real concerns about a vaccination programme they’re reluctant to embrace."