People hoping to receive a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in the Harrogate district may have to wait until June, a letter leaked to the Stray Ferret has revealed.
The Harrogate district had made good progress with the vaccination programme. According to the latest NHS England figures, more than 95,000 jabs have been given.
But as the national rollout focuses on people aged just over 40, it seems the NHS has cut vaccine supply to the Humber, Coast and Vale Integrated Care System, which oversees the vaccine programme in the Harrogate district.
A letter signed by Amanda Bloor, accountable officer for North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and Beverley Geary, chief nurse at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and leaked to the Stray Ferret, revealed the supply problem. The letter says:
“We were informed earlier this week that there would be no first dose vaccination supply for the ICS until June.
“The situation is still developing and there may be some Pfizer vaccine available earlier in May. This is a huge disappointment to everyone who has worked on the vaccination programme in the ICS.
“We know you will all be concerned about the impact of this national supply issue on your own ability to continue to deliver the programme, the impact on patients as well as the reputational risk.”
The letter, dated April 22, was sent to senior health officials in the region as well as large scale vaccination sites and community pharmacies.
It says Humber, Coast and Vale ICS is “extremely concerned about the proposed national campaign for the vaccination programme due to start next week”, when the focus is likely to be on over 40s.
“We have expressed our surprise at such a disjointed approach at the national level and the impact that this will have on local areas managing patient expectations.”
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The pharmacy-run vaccination centres in Knaresborough and Pateley Bridge have not held a vaccine clinic since April 17 and because of supply problems do not have a date for the next one.
Since it opened at the beginning of the month, the Pateley Bridge centre has only been able to give 400 coronavirus jabs.
Samin Khan, who runs Pateley Bridge Pharmacy, told the Stray Ferret:
“We have only managed to hand out 400 vaccines since opening because we have not been given any coronavirus vaccines.
“Other places are getting a supply. The NHS is sending people out to York and Leeds when they want to get a jab in their local area.
“It seems like because the Harrogate district has done so well with the coronavirus vaccines that we have been penalised.”
Ms Bloor told a North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum press briefing today that first dose supply was “getting low.” She added:
“I think it is fair to say that throughout the vaccination programme there have been peaks and troughs in vaccine supply.
“It is a bit lumpy, some weeks we get more and some weeks we get less. At the moment, we are getting slightly less in terms of first doses than we have been previously.
“But, actually, what that means is we can really focus on getting people through for second doses because we have got that guaranteed second dose supply.
“We are also assured that we will still be on track to deliver first doses to all of those aged over 18 by July 31 in line with the government guidance.”