Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Surgery plan to speed up delivery of covid vaccine

Surgery plan to speed up delivery of covid vaccine

WARGRAVE Surgery is planning to accelerate its delivery of the coronavirus vaccine.

It aims to have every patient over the age of 50 vaccinated by the middle of next month.

The surgery in Victoria Road is part of the Wokingham North primary care network, which is likely to receive between 25,000 and 30,000 doses a week as a result of NHS supplies being reconfigured. By comparison, the average weekly total to date has been about 11,000.

The surgery has already given 3,000 jabs to patients and was among the first in the country to give out the Pfizer vaccine.

This means the oldest and most vulnerable people have already received a second jab within 12 weeks of the first dose.

Patients in priority groups 1 to 4 have now had at least one jab and all those in groups 5 and 6 should have had the first jab by Sunday.

Dr Jim Kennedy, a senior partner at the practice, said: “We started before Christmas and that proceeded very well into January but because we were way out ahead of most of the country, we were a little bit starved of supply from the end of January onwards.

“Supplies were diverted to other parts of the country where they were significantly behind us.

“In late February and into March, the entire system has been experiencing a little less supply coming through and that is mainly because they have been re-engineering some of the manufacturing plants so that they can generate much greater supplies.

“Our rate for vaccines is about to probably treble. The enhanced supply means we will be getting significantly more of the first jabs out.”

The surgery’s delivery of the vaccine has been boosted by using the old fire station, also in Victoria Road, as a vaccination centre.

The latest group to receive the vaccine are those under the age of 70 with underlying health problems.

Dr Kennedy said: “It is quite a big group, as you can imagine, but we are ploughing through them very quickly and that is going to accelerate with this new supply. 

“The best week we had was in mid-January when there was about 18,000 [doses a week].  We are aiming to get all the people in our population over the age of 50 vaccinated by the middle of April and then we will start moving into the younger groups.

“The risk of adverse effects from covid are heavily related to age, so by the time we vaccinated all those over 70, we’d already probably reduced the risk of death and severe hospitalisations by over 80 per cent.”

Dr Kennedy is urging people who may be cautious about the vaccination to take up the offer when they are contacted by the surgery.

He also encouraged patients with enquires not related to coronavirus to feel comfortable contacting the surgery. 

“The covid jab is very safe,” he said. “Some people do experience slight side effects from it and we think it is about five per cent.

“The most common things are a headache followed by a slight aching and mild flu symptoms.

“In the majority of cases it lasts 24 to 48 hours. It certainly doesn’t stop people from getting on with their lives and what they need to be doing.

“It is a very safe vaccine and has huge benefits in reducing the risk of getting covid, getting hospitalised and, God forbid, ending up in an intensive care unit.

“Your risk of death if you’ve been vaccinated is hugely reduced, so we would strongly encourage everyone to take up the offer.

“Hats off to our local population who know a good thing when they see it and have taken this up.”

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