GPs begin to offer Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine

The next stage of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout programme will see the vaccine delivered to local general practices, for GPs to offer the jabs to patients.

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GPs begin to offer Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine
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The next stage of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout programme will see the vaccine delivered to local general practices, for GPs to offer the jabs to patients.

The NHS says local surgeries in over 100 areas will receive deliveries of the vaccine later today.

Vaccinations at these surgeries will begin today and tomorrow.

The vaccine rollout began last week with tens of thousands of people getting the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

Dr Simon Hodes is one of the GPs in Watford who will be giving the jabs to patients. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme there was "great excitement" among those to whom the jab was being offered.

He said, "They've been reading the news - they know it's safe - and they're keen to have it."

Over 80s age have priority to receive the vaccine first. Some care home residents are also due to get the vaccines at a later stage this week.

Many people are waiting to get the vaccine. However, the director of primary care at NHS England, Dr Nikita Kanani, has called for people to be patient while they wait to receive the jab.

Speaking to the BBC, she said, "There's a huge range of things that general practices are already doing so if we can ask for people to just wait a moment and wait to be contacted that would be very appreciated."

With the impending end of the Brexit transition period, there have been concerns over whether this would affect the supply of vaccines. One of the major manufacturing sites for this vaccine is in Belgium.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma said there were necessary plans in place to make sure the distribution of vaccines is not in any way disrupted, even if a deal with the EU is not reached.

There have been concerns raised about potential logistical issues that may impact how the vaccine is carried out. Such problems include that the Pfizer jab must be stored at -70C, which is not possible in places such as care homes, as they lack specialty freezers and cooling facilities.

Chairman of the Royal College of GPs, Professor Martin Marshall, has agreed there are  "logistical challenges" in distributing the vaccine, but said GPs in the UK had an excellent track record of delivering mass vaccination programmes.

He said, "We won't be vaccinating everyone all at once - it will be a relatively small number at first - but as long as there is supply, GPs and our teams at selected sites will start vaccinating people this week, starting with our most vulnerable patients."

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