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GPs will not deliver bulk of Covid-19 vaccines given this year, says Hancock


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GPs will not be required to deliver the majority of Covid-19 vaccinations that are administered this year, the health secretary has confirmed.

In today’s Downing Street press briefing Matt Hancock said mass vaccination centres would deliver the bulk of the programme next month – and GPs would take a more prominent role in 2021.

The health secretary also confirmed the MHRA has been asked to assess the Pfizer vaccine, representing the final step before the vaccination programme can begin.

Deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said at the briefing that the speed of rollout depended on manufacturing and regulatory constraints.

He said: ‘It’s in the hands of the manufacturers and the regulatory agencies around how quickly batches can be released for use if they are authorised.’

Mr Hancock said vaccination centres were being set up across the country by the NHS to ‘manage the logistical challenge’ of needing to store the Pfizer vaccine at -70 degrees.

He said: ‘In addition, it is establishing vaccination hubs in hospitals for NHS staff. These two routes are likely to comprise the bulk of the campaign this side of the new year.’

He added: ‘Then, there will be a community rollout, involving GPs and pharmacists. Last week, we asked GPs to sign up to deliver local services, and I’m really grateful that so many are coming forward.’

The health secretary also said he was ‘more and more confident’ that the chief medical officer’s hope for the country to be back to ‘normal’ by the spring would become reality.

He said: ‘The chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has said in the past that he hopes we’ll be able to get back more towards normal by the spring and with this news we’ve had over the last few weeks and with the expansion of mass testing, I’m more and more confident that he’s right.’

The health secretary said the Government had now formally asked the MHRA to review the vaccine produced by Pfizer, which earlier this month the company reported to be 90% effective.

He said: ‘The MHRA, which acts for the entire UK, is one of the world’s most respected regulators. And I can confirm that the Government has formally asked the MHRA to assess the Pfizer vaccine, for its suitability for authorisation.

Earlier this month Pulse exclusively revealed that NHS officials were planning for GPs to be ready to deliver a potential Covid-19 vaccine from December.

However, LMCs warned of the ‘impossible’ requirements of the proposed Covid vaccination DES, which could put GP practices ‘contractually at risk’.

A Pulse survey later revealed around 5% of primary care network clinical directors in England said their PCN will not be signing up to the Covid vaccine DES.

Additional reporting by Costanza Pearce

READERS' COMMENTS [10]

Nigel Sewell 20 November, 2020 6:27 pm

Have us waste ten days in detailed planning to be ready from 1st Dec out in GP land, then pull the rug, what a bunch of half wits, including me for believing they knew what they were talking about too..

Turn out The lights 20 November, 2020 8:54 pm

The establishment take over ready for another world beating incompetent fiasco more Boris moonsh@t.2021 will continue in the same was as 2020 .A, government out of its depth spaffing money up the wall in a vane attempt to look adequate.We will be paying for this mess for a long long time.

Turn out The lights 20 November, 2020 8:56 pm

At least if we are not involved the right wing propaganda rags will be less likely to blame us(some hope).

Graham Hagan 20 November, 2020 9:47 pm

Just been told by my daughter that a friend of hers is working in a testing centre for £11/hr. There are 13 of them working a 14 hour day, with the capacity to test 700 people per day. They saw 15 today.

Kevin Pepper 21 November, 2020 7:37 am

Since PCNs are in the processing of planning single site vaccination centers, (eg en mass given our PCN has 50k patients) could it be that Matt Hancock has the wrong end of the stick as usual and believes that this is somehow separate from GP services?

terry sullivan 21 November, 2020 3:49 pm

gps should decline all delivery

Anonymous 22 November, 2020 10:17 am

One of the chumocracy buddies may get the contract then

Saj Azfar 22 November, 2020 4:36 pm

Mass vaccination centres in December with GPs coming on board from next year…

I thought that the first cohort was elderly in care homes, so I don’t see how this is going to work?!

Dave Haddock 23 November, 2020 9:58 am

There are lots of retired doctors who would like to help if anyone bothered asking.

James Weems 23 November, 2020 8:24 pm

Wonder who will have to contribute staff towards the mass vaccination centres.