Family doctors begin COVID-19 immunisation drive in UK

The roll-out of the biggest vaccination programme in the history of the UK’s NHS is gathering pace, as family doctors and their teams begin taking delivery of Pfizer/BioNTech’s COVID-19 shot.

In a statement the NHS said that GP practices in more than 100 parts of the country are taking delivery of the vaccine today.

Some clinics will begin immunisations this afternoon and the majority will start tomorrow (Tuesday), the NHS said.

The vaccine, which was approved in the UK earlier this month and granted an Emergency Use Authorization by the FDA late last week, will be administered by teams of nurses, paramedics and pharmacists.

Those aged over 80, as well as care home workers and residents, will get the vaccine first as they are considered to be in the group at highest risk of getting the disease.

Care home residents will start to receive the vaccine later this week as distributors finalise the processes to deliver the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which must be stored at around -70c to maintain its integrity.

Practice teams are redesigning sites to put in processes to meet these logistical challenges and the NHS will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine.

Dr Simon Hodes, a GP from Watford told the BBC that his surgery is due to begin vaccinations on Monday, adding that very few of his patients had worries about the shot.

Hodes said his surgery had introduced a “military-style operation” to ensure vaccine doses are not wasted.

Dr Nikki Kanani, a practising GP and NHS director of primary care, said: “GPs, nurses, pharmacists and other primary care staff are eager to play their part in protecting people against coronavirus.

“This is the greatest vaccination programme ever undertaken by the NHS and, to help vaccinate people safely we will be working with local communities to deliver it in convenient and familiar settings.

“As a GP I am proud to be part of this huge national effort to protect our patients against the virus and I would urge the public to come forward when they are called up for the vaccine.”

Feature image copyright BioNTech SE 2020, all rights reserved

 

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