Oxford and AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine will launch in primary care practices across England starting Thursday.
Hopefully by the end of the week there will be more than 700 locations delivering vaccines.
The introduction of primary care practices is a big step forward in bringing the vaccine to the masses as part of the largest vaccination program in the history of the NHS.
The Oxford and AstraZeneca Covid burst fits easily into standard vaccine delivery systems as no special cold storage is required.
It also means it’s easier to get into nursing homes and bring people home.
In the meantime, GPs are being offered a financial incentive to vaccinate residents of nursing homes earlier.
When general practitioners get the vaccine, more and more people across the country can get their first sting, with a follow-up exam in a few weeks.
The vaccine was first dispensed in selected hospitals for surveillance purposes before being mailed to hundreds of local vaccination services in the community.
Officials have confirmed that seven vaccination centers will be operational next week, as well as other general practitioner-run services and some vaccination services for pilot pharmacies.
Dr. Nikki Kanani, NHS and NHS Primary Care Medical Director, said: “The largest vaccination program in the history of the NHS is off to a good start. Around one million people have already been vaccinated against coronavirus. This is thanks to our exceptional NHS staff.
“General practitioners, nurses, pharmacists and countless other employees and volunteers worked around the clock to open nearly 200 more locations this week.
“Combined with the launch of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine, we can now protect many more at-risk people from the virus faster.”
Officials said that in addition to the Oxford stitch, local vaccination services will also be issued small packs of Pfizer puffs that can be used in nursing homes.
Initially, there were some logistical problems after the sting was approved as the vaccines were delivered in batches of almost 1,000. Delivering such large quantities to nursing homes could have wasted vital vaccine supplies.
Meanwhile, the NHS is offering GP services for every nursing home resident vaccinated in January an additional £ 10 to get a majority vaccinated before the end of the month.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Every part of the government and the NHS are working around the clock to rapidly expand our Covid-19 vaccination program so that we can protect the most vulnerable from this terrible disease as soon as possible.
“The Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine is easy to transport and I am delighted that nursing home residents are receiving their first Oxford / AstraZeneca puffs this week.
“We want to offer vaccinations to the majority of nursing home residents and all 13 million people in the four main cohorts by mid-February by the end of January. This will ensure that the most vulnerable are protected and save tens of thousands of lives.
“As our vaccination program gets underway, I urge everyone to continue to adhere to the latest restrictions to keep cases down and protect loved ones.”
Health officials stressed that patients will be contacted when their appointment is due.
But it comes when delivery issues were highlighted with the push of medical professionals on Twitter.
An NHS general practitioner and medical journalist have said their practice is “infrequent to walk” but does not contain vaccines due to delays in delivery of Covid puffs.
Dr. Rosemary Leonard said the patients were facing a “zip code lottery”.
She tweeted: “Covid vaccination from the front. My group of practices was initially informed that we would receive our first delivery on December 28th. Then Jan 4th Then Jan 11th Now we are “6th wave” and it’s going to be Jan 13th, 14th or 15th We are seldom to go but have no vaccines. WHY?”
Dr. Leonard added, “And according to answers, many practices across the country are in the same position, is a real zip code lottery for patients. There must be key supply problems – it would be good to get a truthful explanation. “
A number of doctors responded, including one who wrote, “How are we supposed to book 1000 patients without knowing the day it will arrive?”