Doctors giving the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine have been told to prioritise elderly patients from ethnic minorities and those who have underlying health conditions if there is high demand for the jab.
GPs at 280 sites are expected to start administering the vaccine from Tuesday, with more practices across the country joining in throughout December.
They have been told to start contacting patients, the Times reported, but there are worries that dozens of practices have decided against taking part in the scheme due to ‘concerns their workloads are already too heavy.’
Around 100,000 Britons will reportedly have to go elsewhere for their Covid-19 inoculations.
Some GPs say they are already too busy to administer the vaccine, and their patients could suffer if practices have to cut back other services so doctors can give the injections, the Guardian reported.
Surgeries taking part in the scheme will receive 975 doses of the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine, which will need to be used within three-and-a-half days to adhere to regulatory requirements set by the MHRA, the UK’s medicines regulator.
NHS chiefs have advised that should there be more than 975 over-80s who wish to take the vaccine, ‘you need to prioritise which patients should have access to the first supply.’
Around 100,000 Britons will reportedly have to go elsewhere for their Covid-19 inoculations as the second stage of the UK’s mass vaccination programme begins in local GP practices next week. Pictured: A vaccination on Tuesday
Guidance added that medics should consider a patient’s pre-existing illnesses and ethnicity.
The contract of involvement, which NHS England negotiated with the British Medical Association (BMA), says that vaccine clinics should run from 8am to 8pm seven days a week.
NHS England have also introduced a new rule requiring every recipient to be monitored for 15 minutes after receiving the jab, after two hospital staff had an allergic reaction to it.
Dr Julia Patterson, of Everydoctor, said: ‘I’ve not spoken to a single doctor who doesn’t want to take part in the vaccine rollout; medical professionals are acutely aware of the importance of vaccinations’
Dr Julia Patterson, of Everydoctor, said: ‘I’ve not spoken to a single doctor who doesn’t want to take part in the vaccine rollout; medical professionals are acutely aware of the importance of vaccinations.
‘However, PCNs in some areas may simply be forced to opt out in order to keep normal patient services going, and keep their patients safe this winter.’
GPs in Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Sussex and the Thames Valley are among those who have reportedly decided against taking part in the mass inoculation scheme.
In Manchester, two Primary Care Networks which cater for more than 100,000 patients have opted out – Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall and Higher Blackley, Harpurhey and Charlestown.
The NHS will have to organise for patients at any impacted surgeries to receive the vaccination at another site, it was said.
It is understood doctors in 250 of England’s 1,260 Primary Care Networks are set to begin vaccinating patients aged over 80 next week.
It follows the initial roll-out of the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine on Tuesday, when Margaret Keenan, 90, from Coventry and a Warwickshire pensioner called William Shakespeare became the first people in the world to get an approved inoculation for the virus.
Margaret Keenan, 90, from Coventry and a Warwickshire pensioner called William Shakespeare became the first people in the world to get an approved inoculation for the virus on Tuesday
In Manchester, two Primary Care Networks which cater for more than 100,000 patients have chosen not to take part in the scheme – Cheetham Hill and Crumpsall and Higher Blackley, Harpurhey and Charlestown
A spokesperson for the NHS told the Guardian there has been a ‘fantastic response’ from GPs across England signing up to deliver the vaccine ‘from nominated sites within Primary Care Networks.’
‘Given the well-known logistical challenges of delivering this particular vaccine, GPs like others across the NHS are now responding rapidly to make arrangements for this to happen,’ a statement added.
The NHS began the biggest vaccination drive in British history at 70 hospital sites on Tuesday, where the UK’s new weapon in the war on Covid-19 was rolled out to the over-80s, the vulnerable and frontline hospital and care home staff.
Ms Keenan, who turns 91 next week, was the first person in the world to receive the jab since it was approved by the UK’s regulator – calling it ‘the best early birthday present I could wish for’ after self-isolating alone since March.
She celebrated her global fame in typical British-style – with a nice cup of tea.
A total of 481,500 patients had coronavirus in the seven days up to December 5, down from 521,300 the week prior (8 per cent), according to estimates by the Office for National Statistics (ONS)
The next to get the jab was 81-year-old William Shakespeare from near Stratford-upon-Avon – the Bard’s home town – who appeared so relaxed many joked that to him, being the second person in the world to be vaccinated was ‘much ado about nothing’.
Dozens of GP vaccine hubs are expected to start administering the jab from Monday, with more practices across the country joining in throughout December.
Sites chosen to take part in this wave of the roll-out will need to deliver 975 doses of the vaccine in the week beginning December 14, a letter from NHS England previously confirmed.
Mass vaccination centres at sports grounds and conference centres are not expected to open until the new year, once the alternative Oxford/AstraZeneca jab has been given the go-ahead by regulators.
It comes as councils under England’s toughest coronavirus restrictions are to begin rapid community testing programmes in a bid to cut Covid-19 transmission rates this winter.
An initial wave of 67 Tier 3 local authorities have received Government approval for testing schemes to help put them on a path towards relaxing local measures.
As part of the Government’s Covid winter plan, more than 1.6 million rapid turnaround lateral flow tests would be delivered for use this month, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the enhanced testing programmes follow a successful pilot in Liverpool and will be a ‘vital additional tool’ in finding asymptomatic cases.