This site is intended for health professionals only

Who you gonna call? (Not me, please)

Who you gonna call? (Not me, please)

I, like you, and like everyone else except rabid anti-vaxxers (and hey, don’t worry, natural selection will eventually sort them out, it’s just that evolution is so damned slow) will doubtless welcome the much-anticipated Covid vaccine with open arms. But not necessarily with an open surgery door.

Look, I get why some might think, like the BMA, that general practice will play a significant part in administering the Covid jab. I mean, clearly, if there’s something virally strange in the neighbourhood, and Ghostbusters are busy, who you gonna call? We ain’t afraid of no Covid. And, bravery aside, there’s a very long list of reasons why we really are ‘ideally placed’ on this occasion: we have a proud vax-track record, being licensed, trusted, persuasive, accessible and organised and experienced enough to sort out a call/recall programme.

In other words, unlike certain governments you might like to mention, we can actually organise a piss-up in a brewery.

But. Hang on. This is the mother of all vaccination programmes. And I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of busy already. Of course, there will be financial support, but that discounts all the stress of actually accessing those funds and then magicking them into staff, systems and space to undertake jab-in-the-Armageddon, while carrying on with everything else. 

There’s also the risk that what some might imagine would make us look indispensible to the NHS (being Ninja jabbers) might actually make us appear underemployed and overpaid (‘Lazy GPs demand Covid cash to give jab’ to save any headline writers out there the bother).

So, thanks for asking, but nah. Love to help, but I’m busy. Leave this one to the Government. What could possibly go wrong? On second thoughts, do you still have that Ghostbusters phone number…

Dr Tony Copperfield is a GP in Essex. Read more of Copperfield’s blogs at



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Dave Haddock 22 October, 2020 8:55 pm

As usual, the BMA are pontificating without bothering to ask any of those they allegedly represent.

Jane Atkinson 23 October, 2020 12:21 pm

Hope you have a freezer that is capable of -80 degrees C for the Pfizer vaccine and – 5 degrees C for Astra Zeneca. That’s a logistical nightmare!,

Patrufini Duffy 23 October, 2020 2:50 pm

GP phone lines will be burnt – imagine: “I’m going on holiday to Thailand, I need a covid vaccine…yes, for the full moon party”.

David Church 24 October, 2020 5:12 am

So, it’s time to tell everyone what our current workload is – I am assunimg you have all noticed the increase, and it’s not just me – but make sure it is TRUE number of contacts per day, and hours of work, not just opening hours and those returned by the computer-search!
And tell them how we could do the additional work : per practice, the number of extra hours, extra medical and nursing hours, admin and cleaning hours, required: point out the extra money going back to the local community via additional payments to the staff: and tell everyine the reason we will not be installing -80 degree freezers for two months, the disruption it would cause to normal working availability, etc
And locally insist your CCG/LHB/Trust run a full local publicity and national media campaign to get people to turn up on the right day where it is being done – it’s going to be weekends if it’s us, but weekdays if Public Health.
The great [otential benefit to all is that if we insist PH do it, then it will also put funding back their way and reverse the trend for cuts to PH funding that have decimated the service. Share the bonus further, and get the HVs involved, before they disappear for ever too.
But, fill in your workload survey and return it to SHOW how much pressure there is this winter before the new imms arrive!

Joseph Blackburn 24 October, 2020 11:54 am

Will NHS England fund the Freezer(s) up front or make a vague promise to reimburse ‘reasonable costs’ which can subsequently be interpreted as not including freezers?

Andrew Bamji 26 October, 2020 10:06 am

It can be done.

My mother, back in the 1960s, was working single-handed (1700 patients)while my father was in hospital, with morning surgeries of 70, evening surgeries of 40, house calls in between, when the smallpox scare hit. So on top of all of that she had to vaccinate a large proportion of the practice. She succeeded with the help of the surgery receptionist (my aunt) and a medical student (me).

The only issue was when one patient, sitting in the packed waiting room for half an hour or so, came through and said “I think I’ve got smallpox, doctor!”. That set the nerves a-jangle until we looked at the rash.

But good luck to you all out there…

David Jarvis 26 October, 2020 10:14 am

I have a different view that we have looked at what staffing and workload is needed looking at current flu jab delivery. Working up business costs including profit and remunerating staff who volunteer to do it. Looking at sites. I feel we could run it for my locality and make some money. But more if this gets us back up and running and empties hospitals and prevent deaths then surely we have some duty as Drs to do this.
I would rather it is done and the money actually goes to the NHS rather than botched at massive expense with most of it trousered by you know who. But that micro diffuse system is an anathema to our Govt who centralise and micro-manage everything because they don’t seem to trust us to not pocket the money. Perhaps because pocketing the cash is what they would do and think everyone is like that. I am pleased to say that fortunately there are still plenty who are not like that.

Turn out The lights 28 October, 2020 9:16 am

give the job to dildo Harding and the world leading track and trace surely nothing can go wrong there,,err……