After the start to the coronavirus vaccination programme led by hospital hubs, hundreds of primary care network-led local vaccination services are opening across England.
This means the NHS can intensify its work to protect people aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers and residents, by bringing the vaccination programme closer to communities.
More than 100,000 patients will not be able to get the Covid vaccine from their local doctor after dozens of GP practices in England chose not to join the NHS’s coronavirus vaccination programme. The Guardian reports that a number of practices in Manchester, Sussex, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and the Thames Valley opted out of the programme. The local NHS will have to arrange for patients registered at those surgeries to be vaccinated elsewhere.
Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and our teams are about to embark on an enormous challenge, delivering the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the community whilst also delivering the expanded flu vaccine programme and the usual care and services our patients rely on us for.
“There are also logistical challenges but general practice has an excellent track record of delivering mass vaccination programmes, and we want to use this experience to help protect people from Covid-19 and start getting life back to normal again. We won’t be vaccinating everyone all at once – it will be a relatively small number at first – but as long as there is supply, GPs and our teams at selected sites will start vaccinating people this week, starting with our most vulnerable patients.”
Colleagues in general practice have worked rapidly and diligently to redesign sites and put in place safe processes to meet what we know are tough logistical challenges.
More practices and community pharmacies will be joining the programme on a phased basis during the remainder of December and in the coming months. NHS England will continue to publish guidance on its website so do keep checking back in.