Covid jab invitations are 'a farce' claims Doncaster family doctor

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A Doncaster GP says invitations for vaccines which practices have been told to send over 70s are a farce – as they may not have the vaccine.

And he says more could be done if the Government concentrated on doctors surgeries and local pharmacies instead of giant vaccination centres.

Dr Dean Eggitt, Cantley GP and chief executive of Doncaster Local Medical Committee, was asked to contact all over 70s among his patients about Covid jabs by Monday – but says his practice may not have any vaccine.

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Dr Dean Eggitt at his surgery in DoncasterDr Dean Eggitt at his surgery in Doncaster
Dr Dean Eggitt at his surgery in Doncaster

He said: “A lot of the invitations practices will send out to patients are likely to be hollow in their sentiment, in that we won't actually know when we will next have vaccines available.

"GP practices have their own hubs. Ours is located at the Keepmoat Stadium, where we give the Pfizer and Astra Zeneca vaccines. The vaccines are not yet being distributed to individual practices. There’s a regional hub at Sheffield Arena too.

“By February 15 we’re supposed to have invited every over 70 year old to have a vaccine. But having an invitation is not the same as having an appointment to receive the vaccine. The invitations are just to say you will receive an appointment shortly. To me, that's pointless politics. It’s a farce that we are sending out invites with no appointments or vaccines available, in the hope we will have them soon.

"No one in front line care can understand the point of large regional vaccination sites where patients have to travel long distances to get their vaccine. If it had been done solely through local GPs and pharmacies, we could have done far more jabs. We have team members ready and willing to vaccinate people, but we have not been given anywhere near enough vaccine supply."

“We have far more capacity than we’re being used for.”

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NHS England says vaccination centres offer a convenient option for those eligible who do not want to wait to be contacted by GPs or hospitals.

Alternatively people can wait to be contacted by their GP-led vaccination service.

An NHS North East and Yorkshire spokesperson added: “As soon as supply is confirmed, which varies every week, the NHS works to confirm as quickly as possible what will be available to each vaccination site.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.