THE rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in Herefordshire has slowed as expected, latest figures reveal.

Just 717 people had a first dose of the Covid-19 jab last week, NHS data up to April 4 shows.

That is down from 5,757 the previous week, and 10,042 a fortnight ago.

But the figures do show that two-thirds of people in Herefordshire have received their first dose.

The data shows 103,134 people had received a vaccine jab by April 4 – equating to 64 per cent of those aged 16 and over, according to the latest population estimates from the Office for National Statistics.

Of those vaccinated, 84,596 were aged 50 or over – 94 per cent of the age group.

It means 18,538 people aged between 16 and 49 have received a first dose of the vaccine.

The data also reveals variation in coverage between different areas across Herefordshire.

The proportion of residents prioritised for vaccinations, such as those aged over 50, is one factor that could affect vaccine coverage.

Areas with the highest coverage:

1) Colwall, Cradley & Wellington Heath, with 74.1 per cent of people aged 16 and over given their first dose

2) Credenhill, Weobley & Wellington, 72.6 per cent

3) Shobdon, Luston & Bodenham, 72.2 per cent

Areas with the lowest coverage:

1) Hereford South West, 54 per cent

2) Hereford Central, 54.2 per cent

3) Hereford South, 54.5 per cent.

Across England, 26.6 million people had received their first dose of a vaccine by April 4, covering 58 per cent of the population aged 16 and over.

That includes 19.8 million people aged 50 and over – 94 per cent of the age group.

The figures also show that 4.3 million people have had a second dose of the jab.

A small number of people are not included due to their age being unknown.

The NHS said in March that a "significant reduction" in weekly supply of the jabs in April would slow the rollout down.

This month, the health service is focussing on giving people their second jab as opposed to giving the under-50s their first dose.

It comes after official estimates for supplies were sharply downgraded.

The Cabinet Office indicated an average of 2.7 million doses a week will be given in England until the end of July, down from a previous estimate of 3.2 million.

Supplies of vaccines in April were constrained by the need to test a batch of 1.7 million doses as well as delays in a shipment of around five million from India.

But the department’s scenario, provided to experts on the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (Spi-M), suggested the supply issues may continue for months.

Papers produced by Spi-M on February 17 were based on an average of 3.2 million doses a week until the end of July and 3.9 million thereafter.

Spi-M said the central scenario provided by the Cabinet Office for its March 31 paper was “considerably slower”, with 2.7 million weekly doses until the end of July and two million from then on.

A slower scenario suggested that just 2.5 million weekly doses might be available.

The Spi-M summary notes that the two scenarios produced by the Cabinet Office “may not reflect the situation most likely to occur”.