Capital GPs warn First Ministers vaccine targets may not be hit due to lack of supplies

Supplies are expected to be distributed on Sunday, but may not reach GPs until the end of next weekSupplies are expected to be distributed on Sunday, but may not reach GPs until the end of next week
Supplies are expected to be distributed on Sunday, but may not reach GPs until the end of next week
GPs in the Capital have warned that they may not be able to meet the First Minister’s vaccine target due to lack of supply.

On Thursday, Nicola Sturgeon said that Scotland had received lower vaccine stocks than expected, due to a temporary reduction in Pfizer manufacturing capability.

Currently, the Scottish Government has a target to vaccinate all four of Scotland’s top priority groups by February 15, which includes all residents in a care home for older adults and their carers, those 80 years of age and over and front line health and social care workers, all those 75 years of age and over, and those 70 years of age and over and clinically vulnerable individuals.

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However there are reports of a number of people within the top four priority groups who have not yet received an appointment to be vaccinated.

GPs administering the vaccine are also feeling the pressure as they are only being given a limited supply of the vaccine, with supplies expected to dip in the coming weeks.

Information on the website of Riverside Medical Practice in Musselburgh states: “We’re aware of the mid-February target date for the first four priority groups to be vaccinated – however we can only vaccinate as fast as supplies and logistics allow and have no control over the number of doses we’re sent.”

Ms Sturgeon said on Thursday’s briefing said: "By Sunday, we expect to give vaccines to 70,000 more people than we originally anticipated in the deployment plan.

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"These two factors combined with the need to preserve some stocks for second doses, mean we have to ensure we don't schedule more appointments than our vaccine supplies allow."

Ms Sturgeon said that this might result in a reduction of appointments that can be scheduled.

However, she added that if vaccine supplies increase in that time, they would "very rapidly" be able to accelerate the programme again.

She said that Scotland is still on track to meet all targets set out - including that all over-50s should expect to receive their first dose by mid-May.

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David Small, director of primary care transformation and vaccination programme lead, said: “Our teams are working extremely hard to vaccinate people as quickly as supplies allow and across Lothian we have now vaccinated almost 150,000 people within the first priority groups. GPs have helped to deliver 40 per cent of these vaccines.”

“Our ability to vaccinate to deadline is dependent on receiving sufficient supplies to do so on time. The programme for vaccinating people over 75 cannot be completed until further supply of vaccine is received by GP practices. We are expecting more supplies to arrive on Sunday, allowing the programme to complete in the following week."

Vaccines are delivered by the UK national distributor and while the next batch of supplies to all GP practices for all patient cohorts is due to go out from Sunday some may not receive these until the end of next week.

At Friday’s daily coronavirus briefing Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said the number of vaccine appointments in Scotland will need to be reduced in the next few weeks.

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She added that the vaccination programme remains on course to hit the targets which have been set.

The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.

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