Region's Covid vaccine supplies to be halved according to reports

The North East’s supplies of coronavirus vaccine face being halved next week, according to reports.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 12:15 pm
Fears are growing that the North East's vaccine supplies are to be slashed next week.
Fears are growing that the North East's vaccine supplies are to be slashed next week.

It was reported yesterday (Thursday, January 21) that the region is expected to have at least 100,000 less doses next week so more immunisations can take place in other parts of the country.

This is said to be because the North East, which is paired with Yorkshire as an NHS region, has administered a higher percentage of jabs to eligible groups of people than elsewhere.

The respected Health Service Journal claimed: “Well-placed sources said the North East and Yorkshire, one of seven English NHS regions, had been told there would be around 100,000 doses available next week for its centres run by GP practices, which make up the large majority of current vaccinations.

"This will be down from about 200,000 this week.

“They have been told the main reason is that large parts of the North East and Yorkshire have vaccinated a greater percentage of their population than other regions, including very many of the over 80s, meaning they are more quickly moving on to groups under 80.

“Sources said it was a major frustration in the area, especially in primary care, because they had set up the capacity to administer tens of thousands more than they would be able to.”

Figures last week indicated that around 46 per cent of people aged 80 and over in our region had received a first dose.

This compared to 29 per cent in the East of England and 31 per cent in London.

Heath Secretary Matt Hancock was asked about the report of cutting the vaccine supply by Yorkshire MP Jon Trickett in a House of Commons session yesterday (both speaking remotely).

Mr Hancock said: “Of course we’ve got to make sure that vaccination programme is fair right across the UK, and some parts of the country, including parts of the North East and parts of Yorkshire, have gone really fast early on, which is terrific.

“And we do have to make sure that the vaccination programme is fair everywhere, so that everyone in the top four groups can receive that offer of a vaccine by the 15th of February. We will deliver on that.”

The Government has pledged to vaccinate everyone in the first four priority groups by the middle of February – including everyone over 70, care home staff and residents, and frontline health and social care workers.

It is unclear whether hospital hubs or the mass vaccination site at Newcastle’s Centre for Life will also see their supplies cut next week.

Kim McGuinness, the Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, tweeted yesterday: “Shocking, an absolute disgrace. This region has pulled out all the stops, worked together and is running a successful vaccination programme.

“Are they really going to penalise us for getting it right and quickly getting vaccine to people?”

An NHS England spokesperson said: “All available vaccine doses are being delivered to vaccination sites and every GP-led vaccination site is receiving a delivery this week.

"To ensure all of those people in the top priority groups can get vaccinated quickly, targeted deliveries are being made to areas where there are more people left to vaccinate in the priority cohorts.”