GPs have put up with ‘enormous strain’ during the pandemic and are doing an ‘unbelievable job’ on the vaccination effort, according to the Prime Minister and chief medical officer.
Speaking at Friday evening’s coronavirus briefing, in response to a question from Pulse, CMO Professor Chris Whitty said he would like to give a ‘massive thank you’ to his ‘colleagues in general practice’.
He said: ‘They’ve put up with enormous amounts of strain over the whole of the pandemic, and they’ve now stood up the vaccination on top of everything else that they’re doing.
‘So I think we should all be enormously grateful for what they have done, including some quite rapid turns of policy when actually we’ve had to do that, and people have been very understanding of this.
‘So I just want to thank my colleagues enormously.’
To which Boris Johnson said: ‘I would totally echo that and the GPs are doing an unbelievable job. Some of them are doing as many vaccinations as a whole hospital in GP surgeries – absolutely incredible, and as Chris has just said, they executed the change to the delayed second jab policy very, very well and that’s more or less more or less totally transformed. So the numbers are good today.’
Pulse editor Jaimie Kaffash had asked Mr Johnson what was being done to ‘smooth the process’ of delayed and cancelled deliveries of Covid vaccine to GP sites, as well as when individual GP practices would be invited to join the Covid vaccination effort.
However, the Prime Minister did not respond to either question.
Instead he said: ‘I think the crucial thing is obviously that everybody gets down to their vaccination centre, to the hospital, to the primary care network, the local pharmacy… wherever the vaccination is being offered, when they get the message to come for your vaccine.’
And he added: ‘I do think that it’s also very important that when we have the problem of some groups or some people not getting the message, perhaps being a bit reluctant to go for one reason or another, that we all work to make it clear this is a great thing to do.
‘And local councils, I believe, and public health directors in local councils, will know where to find people who may be hard to reach, and I believe they can be of massive, massive help.’
Meanwhile, Pulse readers took to Twitter to express their confusion about what question the Prime Minister had actually answered.