Confusion as rollout of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to hundreds of GP sites begins
The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine is currently being rolled out to hundreds of GP vaccination sites in England.
The aim, as part of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history, is to offer jabs to most care home residents by the end of January.
The government, as previously reported, announced it’s target is to vaccinate 13 million people in the top four priority groups by mid-February.
However, one surgery visited by Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, to promote the initiative, said its delivery had been delayed.
Leaders in Birmingham have warned stocks of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine are scheduled to run out in the city on Friday, and that it has not yet received any supplies of the Oxford-Astra Zeneca jab.
A letter sent to Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, signed by the Labour leader of Birmingham City Council, Ian Ward, Labour MP Lam Byrne and Conservative MP and former minister Andrew Mitchell, stated there was:
“Currently no clarity on when further supplies will arrive”.
More than 700 local vaccination sites are set to administer the Oxford jab, with a further 180 GP-led sites, 100 new hospital sites and a pilot scheme involving local pharmacies to open this week.
Mr Hancock said the jab was now being supplied to GP practices across the country as he visited the Bloomsbury Surgery in central London, where he said he was “delighted” care homes residents would begin receiving their first Oxford jabs this week.
“This will ensure the most vulnerable are protected and will save tens of thousands of lives”.
However, GP Ammara Hughes, a partner at Bloomsbury Surgery, told broadcasters its first delivery of the jab had been pushed back 24 hours to Thursday.
“It’s just more frustrating than a concern because we’ve got the capacity to vaccinate”.
“And if we had a regular supply – we do have the capacity to vaccinate three to four thousand patients a week”.
When asked if she had informed Mr Hancock of the delay, she confirmed she had, adding:
“What I said to the health secretary today was, we are willing, we are able, you get us the vaccines, we will deliver”.
The surgery said it was continuing to administer the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and had so far received three deliveries of that jab.
Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, said vaccination centres and GP surgeries needed better information about deliveries of the vaccine and how much to expect to arrive.