Thousands of Amble residents receive Covid vaccine
Thousands of Amble residents have been given their first Covid-19 vaccine in the first weeks of 2021. Staff from Coquet Medical Group administered the injections to up to 500 people at a time, in special clinics held at Amble Health Centre. Despite this achievement, GPs say they could do even better, but are hampered by the sporadic supply of the vaccines, and are calling for better delivery systems.
Patients in the first three ‘most at-risk’ groups were given their first vaccination in what was described as ‘a well-organised operation’. These included over 80s, over 75s, NHS frontline workers such as ambulance drivers, and housebound patients.
Staff at Coquet Medical Group have been praised for their dedication and hard work in administering the vaccinations. Many people have left glowing comments on CMG’s facebook page. The team are aiming to deliver over 1000 vaccines per week, but as Dr Ben Burville explained, organising administration of the vaccine in such huge numbers is not always straightforward, as they only get a week’s notice of upcoming deliveries. He described this timeframe as ‘inadequate’, as it places huge pressure on staff who then have to contact over 1000 patients to arrange for their appointments.
Dr Burville told The Ambler, “Government [is] operating a “Push” system of delivery of vaccine where basically they “dump” vaccines on practices without any regard to when the practice wants or needs it. This approach pays no attention to staffing pressures or morale. We need to move to a “pull” type model where we can specify which day of the week we need the vaccine if available.
“In Amble we are pushing for deliveries every Monday so we can run full clinics every Tues/Wed but to date we get it when it’s given to us and NHSE are not facilitating any date alterations … even when that means we are unable to staff clinics!
“We need set delivery days for sites. This would let us plan ahead. We need at least 2-3 weeks notice of deliveries to plan staff/ patients. Obviously this only really affects Pfizer deliveries where vaccines need to be used within a few days of delivery.”
Vaccinations in Amble began at the end of December. The Pfizer vaccine was used in the first weeks; but on 8 January the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine was also brought into use. This is proving especially useful for housebound patients, as that particular vaccine does not need to be kept so cold. Doctors have also been told that if the AZ/Oxford vaccine is used, there is no need for a 15 minute observation period after the injection has been administered.
On 11 January, Coquet Medical Group announced that under a directive from NHS England, they have had to cancel the Pfizer second dose appointments. This is to allow more people to receive their first dose, as soon as possible.