Traders speak of their concerns in Nottingham suburbs with the lowest Covid-19 vaccine uptake

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Two inner-city suburbs have recorded the lowest coronavirus vaccine uptake when compared to anywhere else across Nottingham – and traders warned of the ‘unnecessary pressure’ on the NHS and said ‘some people do not understand the scale of the problem’.

Radford has registered the lowest vaccine uptake with just over 37 percent of the ward population having taken the second jab, according to Home Office figures.

The figures for Hyson Green show that only 41 percent of people have had both jabs

But shop assistant Saibhargav Vankayalopati, 23, said it was “not the scenario that we should be in”, saying she was concerned some people don’t “understand the scale of the problem”.

“It is more important than ever for people to have the vaccine,” the Nottingham Trent University student said.

“There are many people getting affected by it – it is not just the people who refuse to take the jab.

“It is more pressure on the NHS and those who already had it are at higher risk, too.

“I am very concerned that some people do not understand the scale of the problem.”

Elsewhere in Mansfield Road, known for its range of shops and takeaways, more business owners said they were concerned about the figures.

Michelle Sampson, who owns the Touch of Class hair salon, said: “It is a difficult situation for business owners because you cannot voice your opinions to customers.

Business owner Shamim Akhtar, 65, and her friend Rajkour Vierdi, 63, in Hyson Green. (Image: Olimpia Zagnat)

“Some customers of mine are anti-vaxxers and they cannot know that I had the vaccine.

“At the end of the day it is everyone’s choice, everyone is entitle to have an opinion and choose for themselves.

“I just think that it puts unnecessary pressure on the NHS.”

But the 53-year-old, who has been running her business in Mansfield Road for more than 30 years, added: “Everyone knows what is better for them, but I am double-jabbed and I think that was the best decision for myself.”

Their concerns come after the country’s chief medical adviser said about half of children may already have had the virus, and the rest were likely to get it without a vaccine.

Professor Chris Whitty warned “quite a lot of damage” could still occur over the winter months.

The vaccine programme is being rolled out to millions of eligible youngsters aged between 12 and 15 across the UK.

Another business owner said they were encouraging customers to have the jab.

Shamim Akhtar, owner of Rajouri Fashions in the area, 65, said: “My family and I have had the vaccine.

“I try to encourage all my customers to have it.

“Generally they all do.

“I do not think that there is a cultural barrier – I am Muslim like the rest of my family and that did not stop us from having it.”

Traders said that they have taken “all the measures possible” to stop the spread despite the uptake figures.

Amjad Bhatti, owner of the Khyber Grill takeaway, 51, added: “We still have hand sanitiser for customers and we encourage them to pay by card.

“If they cannot and they have to pay in cash, we ask staff to use hand sanitiser before and after touching the money.

“We are very cautious.

“I think it is ridiculous that in Third World countries people are fighting over vaccines and there is a massive crisis because there simply are not enough jabs.

“Meanwhile people refuse to take it.

“They should not be given a choice because this is affecting everyone.”

Others, however, agreed that people should be given the option to refuse taking the jab if they do not want it and let the pandemic “die out”.

Kathlwen Gilbert, who was helping a friend trading at the Hyson Green Market, said: “We live in a democracy and people should have free choice – it is how democracies work.

“The pandemic will disappear eventually and we should go back to normal.

“Even if you take the vaccine you can still be infected and some people simply do not want to take it.”

The 60-year-old, who used to work for the NHS, added: “The discussions around it only divide people and it should not be like that.

“You either want to take it or you do not – and I find that in ethnic communities like Hyson Green the majority prefer not to have it.

“We should be given a choice and everyone should decide for themselves.”

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