GP practice uptake of the Covid vaccine exceeds that of trust staff by more than 10 percentage points, data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has shown.
The new data, published last week, shows vaccine uptake in healthcare workers in England between 8 December 2020 and 31 August 2021.
Frontline healthcare workers at GP practices and independent sector health care providers (ISHCPs) had an uptake of 95.9% for the first dose and 91.5% for the second dose of the Covid vaccine, based on 562 organisations that supplied data for August.
Frontline trust staff scored considerably lower with an 84% uptake for the first dose and 75.2% for the second dose.
This was based on data from 141 organisations, including acute, ambulance, care, community, foundation and mental health trusts.
GP and ISHCP uptake was lowest in the Midlands at 89.1% for a first dose and 65.9% for a second dose across 32 organisations.
The UKHSA said the data must be ‘interpreted with caution’ as ‘national figures are provisional and may vary slightly following further data validation checks’.
Medical director for Londonwide LMCs and GP partner in East London Dr Elliott Singer said he was not surprised by the difference in uptake.
He told Pulse: ‘When you think about the makeup of the staff, there tends to be a more stable workforce within general practice. There are often people that are more experienced, which may be a reflection of the difference in uptake among different age groups that we’re seeing partly reflected in the professions, as well as in the general population.’
He added: ‘GPs and their teams have been heavily involved in the delivery of the vaccine, meaning there is also that added impetus to make sure that you’re all being vaccinated as well.’
Lancashire and Cumbria LMCs chief executive Peter Higgins said: ‘GPs and their staff see the importance of [getting vaccinated] in protecting themselves as front line workers and their patients. Maybe it’s easier to get cohesion in small teams rather than larger, less involved hospital teams.
‘I would certainly feel more confident in visiting a hospital if their vaccination rates were higher.’
South Staffordshire LMC chair and GP Dr Manu Agrawal added that the data ‘clearly shows that [GPs] are following Government guidance and are working closely with their peers and staff’.
It comes as a Government consultation is currently underway to decide whether or not to make Covid and flu jabs mandatory for GPs and other frontline health staff.
Revealing the Government’s ‘winter plan’ for the NHS last month, health secretary Sajid Javid indicated that he expects Covid vaccination will be made mandatory for frontline health and social care workers.