GP surgeries are 'ready to go' on Covid vaccines – but don't have supplies, warns top doc

GP surgeries across the country are ready to go with the coronavirus vaccine rollout but don't have the supplies, one top doctor has warned.

Both the Pfizer/BioNTech jab and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine are currently being rolled out across the UK to the most vulnerable in society.

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But one GP this morning said that there is an issue with the supply of the vaccines which is delaying how fast they can jab patients.

Helen Salisbury, who runs a GP practice in Oxford said surgeries are still waiting on supplies to be delivered and don't know what jab they are getting until the batches turn up.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme she said while it may be the case that some GP surgeries are rolling it out quicker, the fact of the matter is that there aren't enough jabs being delivered.

She said: "Most of this is being organised by what are called primary care networks, these are groups of GPs that have come together.

"What I'm hearing more is from practices saying we are ready, we are up and waiting but we just don’t have the vaccine.

"I think there is a problem about supply. It’s not that we order the vaccine and we get what we ask for, we wait to be told what vaccine we will be given.

"There are a lot of practices that are ready to get going because we all want to be doing this work but we just don't have the supply yet so there is a problem with vaccine supply."

Dr Salisbury also said that the mass vaccine centres that have been rolled out are a "parallel system" to the one being used by GPs.

She said: "We have done well with our over 80s and it seems completely right that some of our younger patients should wait until other over 80s have been vaccinated in other parts of the country.

"But what some of us don’t understand is the rational between the big vaccination centres.

"The big centres that people are having to travel quite a distance to because it seems like a parallel system – they don’t have the information about people to be able to invite them individually."


Dr Salisbury's comments come after other GPs voiced their concerns about vaccine deliveries with some saying they are "craving supplies".

GPs across the country have claimed that many over 80s are still awaiting appointments and that some vaccine clinics have been left empty when they are ready to jab the most vulnerable.

Speaking to The Times, family doctor Ollie Hart said his surgery in Sheffield hasn't received any jabs for nine days – despite having the capacity to vaccinate 700 people a day.

He said: "We have all worked incredibly hard to ready the response and we’re all now craving supplies."


One GP explained how the system works and why some areas have managed to vaccinate more patients than others.

Dame Clare Gerada, former chair of the Royal College of GPs and a GP in South East London said the overall distribution from the central control is based on demographics of deprivations.

Speaking to the Today Programme she said this is largely focused on the over 80s.

"We are still in the early days.

"The way it’s done locally is that as soon as we are alerted to the fact that we are going to get a batch of vaccines, we would do a search on our computer systems and every single person, bar a few, will be registered with us so we can easily search for the over 80s.

"We will pull that list down and that list will go to the local hub who will ring the individuals on that list and ask them to go for a vaccine."

She added that some areas are aheadof others and said her surgery in South East London has vaccinated 50 per cent of its over 80s.

She added: "Clearly some people don’t want a vaccine or can’t have them, then we will offer them to the next group  down which are the over 75s."

She urged people who are concerned that they haven't yet had the jab to "please wait".

Dr Gerada added: "You won’t have been forgotten you will be on the list."

In a statement, a spokesperson for the NHS said that every GP-led vaccination site will receive a delivery this week.

"To ensure all of those in the priority groups can get vaccinated quickly, more supplies are going to areas that have jabbed fewer people in these cohorts next week.”

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