Health professionals in Reading remain concerned about the spread of coronavirus and lower than average vaccination rates.

Professionals continue to monitor coronavirus data, with figures appearing to show a levelling off of the amount of people getting vaccinated.

According to the latest figures from the Government taken on Tuesday, August 2, 74.4 per cent of people in Reading have received a first dose of a Covid vaccine.

That means approximately 25.6 per cent of people are unvaccinated in Reading.

223 people testing positive in Reading in the seven days leading to Friday, July 29.

READ MORE: Fewer people from Reading working from the office since the coronavirus pandemic

Data on the impact of Covid-19 in Reading was presented by professionals at a recent meeting of the council’s health and wellbeing board.

Tracy Daszkiewicz, director of public health for Reading, described the current variant as a “mild illness.”

She said: “Whilst highly transmissable, the impacts of this particular illness remain quite mild.”

She had Covid herself during the meeting, therefore presenting from home.

Despite hundreds of people testing positive in the last week of July, Tracy  Daszkiewicz said there was no confirmation of free testing being re-instated after it ended on April 1.

In the four weeks up to June 17 there were no Covid-19 related deaths in Reading.

Government figures for the total number of people who have died with coronavirus in Reading since the start of the pandemic differs.

The figures show 396 people have died with Covid-19 mentioned on their death certificate, and 373 people died 28 days after a positive test for coronavirus.

Councillors also received a report on a Spring booster campaign that ran from April to June, presented by Belinda Seston, interim director of place based partnerships at the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire West Integrated Care Board, known as the BOB.

Vaccine uptake during the campaign was lower in Reading than in other areas.

Figures show that 74 per cent of those aged 75+ took a booster, 72 per cent of those in older peoples homes.

Those were lower than the BOB average, which showed 81 per cent of those aged 75+ took a booster, and 76 per cent for those in older peoples homes.

Belinda Seston assured councillors that 100 per cent of care homes had been visited.

READ MORE: Concerns raised over reinfections and 'vaccine hesitancy'

She also presented a report on a Healthwatch survey undertaken to understand why people are refusing vaccination.

163 people took part in the survey, and a discussion on social media had 83 and generated 277 comments.

In the survey, 71 per cent stated that nothing would change their mind when asked whether what might help them ultimately get vaccinated.

15 per cent said more information about vaccine safety may help change their mind.

In written replies, respondents voiced health concerns and scepticism over the need for vaccination.

One respondent said they wanted categoric proof that side effects of the vaccine would not end their pregnancy, while another said: “I have had covid before and I was fine, I see no reason to then get vaccinated for something I’ve already had and poses little threat to me.”

Councillor Ruth McEwan (Labour, Church) asked whether the survey would be repeated, with Belinda answering that, while the work would not take place immediately, the BOB will continue to work with volunteer ‘vaccine champions’ to monitor the situation.

The presentations were made at a meeting on Friday, July 15.