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Nadhim Zahawi: ‘We recognise the pressure caused by the vaccination programme’



After a long and difficult period, we are finally starting to see first-hand the incredible impact COVID-19 vaccines are having on people’s lives.

Over 70 million vaccine doses have now been administered since the programme began just over six months ago. That’s tens of millions of relieved faces, jabbed arms and loved ones protected from this terrible virus.

Health and care workers from every corner of the UK have made unforgettable sacrifices in the efforts to rapidly vaccinate as many adults as possible.

A large and integral part of this workforce has been those working in primary care – from GPs, nurses and pharmacists, to receptionists, administrative staff and volunteers – every person has played a crucial role in this achievement.

We would not be where we are today – with over 14,000 lives saved and 42,000 hospitalisations prevented – without their contributions to the cause, delivering an exceptional 75% of all vaccines.

I want to thank everyone across primary care for their tireless dedication and commitment to one of the most important causes in recent British history.

But we recognise the vaccination programme has placed GPs and primary care under enormous pressure, especially with more and more patients wanting to see their GPs for other conditions.

We must do everything we can to maintain the impressive momentum, while ensuring our primary care providers can balance the growing demand. That’s why we are providing a new package of funding and support to primary care networks to accelerate the programme even further and help accomplish our goal of protecting as many as possible from COVID-19. 

This includes £20 million of extra support for GPs, pharmacists and local services, to increase staffing, boost uptake and ensure equal access to a vaccine no matter who people are or where they come from. This money will allow each primary care network an additional seven members of staff on average which will speed up the number of vaccines given to help us get out of the pandemic.

NHS England will also be providing vaccination sites with earlier notice of vaccine supply to help them with forward planning, and will work closely with clinical commissioning groups to offer further support where possible and get vulnerable people their second doses earlier.

Our vaccines are the best way to protect people from COVID-19 and its vital we keep up the pace. People who have been vaccinated are far less likely to get COVID-19 with symptoms, and are even more unlikely to get serious symptoms, be admitted to hospital or tragically die. There is also growing evidence that vaccinated people are less likely to pass the virus on to others, and the vaccines are effective against variants of concern too.

Our health and care workforce have moved mountains to treat and protect a country from a completely novel disease and we owe them our greatest admiration.

For now, I can only reiterate just how important it is to keep up the phenomenal momentum and see this programme through to the end. Every jab given, every form filled out, every patient booked in, means another loved one safe from COVID-19 – and for that, the whole country can give thanks.

Nadhim Zahawi MP is minister for Covid-19 vaccine deployment, and MP for Stratford-on-Avon

READERS' COMMENTS [10]

Azeem Majeed 14 June, 2021 1:55 pm

Thank you Mr Zahawi. Dr Simon Hodes and I discuss the key issues in building a sustainable infrastructure for the Covid-19 vaccination programme in a recent article for the BMJ. Primary care teams must be fully supported if they are expected to provide mass covid-19 vaccination in addition to their core work. Investment in GP-led vaccination sites, supported by local pharmacies, is likely to be the most cost-effective option for ongoing mass vaccination.

https://blogs.bmj.com/bmj/2021/06/10/building-a-sustainable-infrastructure-for-covid-19-vaccinations-long-term/

Patrufini Duffy 14 June, 2021 3:01 pm

And “the whole country can give thanks”. This is not that type of country.

terry sullivan 14 June, 2021 4:33 pm

another useless politician

David jenkins 15 June, 2021 12:57 pm

if he meant a word of this he could start by removing all the silly hoops we have to jump through to become a fully fledged vaccinator.

i qualified in 1976, and must have given thousands of vaccines over the years.

however, i cannot give covid vaccine because i “haven’t been trained”.

i can’t do the online training for this highly technical procedure because………….i can’t produce my “o level” certificates that i was given in 1966.

three medical qualifications, and a cambridge physiology degree apparently don’t count – i can’t even get to the point you enter your qualifications until you can produce your o level certificates !

and don’t even bother phoning the helpline – i’m still waiting for a call back six months down the line.

lovely chatting to you MR zahawi – but i’ve finished my coffee, and i’m now going back out to continue the work on my half restored 1939 wolseley ten.

if you want me, you know where i’ll be !

Patrufini Duffy 15 June, 2021 2:00 pm

Heard a call – **and not the first: “my parents are coming from New Zealand for 4 weeks – I want them temporary registered to get the covid vaccine”.

How to you momentum that?

David Turner 16 June, 2021 10:41 am

If you really want to help, give PCN’s funds to spend on locum GPs and practice nurses to do the real coalface work which includes vaccinating.
Stop limiting ARRS monies to only be used on health care workers we neither particularly need or want.

Keith M Laycock 17 June, 2021 1:52 am

Everyone should check out Mr. Zahawi’s Wiki page – expenses scandal in 2012/13, 2nd highest earning MP in the UK, and extensive financial ties and relationships to industry, including an Iraqi oil company and London property holdings and development.

Of course that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have your best interests at heart.

Vinci Ho 17 June, 2021 2:16 pm

Realistically, there are some issues outstanding:
(1) As the complete relief of Covid restrictions are procrastinated , some time is perhaps bought in terms of expecting GP surgeries ‘opening their doors wide’ from the public and media. The government and its scientists must make up their mind what role GPs are to play in this potential third wave of Covid 19 in this country . They cannot be too greedy . Something has to give , as simple as that .
(2) One crystal clear message that must be delivered to the public by the government is : GP surgeries cannot be equated to non-essential shops on high streets allowing customers walking in freely .
Patients are not customers fundamentally. GP surgeries are not about customer services , no matter how you look at it . Public Health England , ironically at odds to NHSE/I , reinforced the current triaging model in general practice. Of course , there is a significant number of patients who should be seen face to face by GPs sooner rather than later but that simply represents the importance of exercising good selection mechanism to filter these patients out in the first place . My gut feeling is a ‘hybrid’ model of triaging and face to face , will be the way forward in the foreseeable future .
(3) PCNs and their CDs are burnt out . Many CDs still retain substantial commitment to his/her own practices while the job of CD at PCN is arguably a full time job . Otherwise , why does NHSE increase CD remuneration to near whole-time-equivalent as long as the PCN is involving actively in the vaccination programme? The reality is ,that put CDs on No Man’s land while his/her practice colleagues are all already tied up with their practice businesses fire-fighting everyday dealing with complaints, so-called ‘recovery’ , workload dumped by secondary care , rejected hospital referrals etc .

The animosity and hostility between BMA/GPC England and NHSE/I is phenomenal , well indicative of a mismatch between demands and feasibilities.
GPs have undoubtedly sacrificed to provide 75% of the Covid vaccination( at least , in first phase ) and arguably saved the ‘reputation’ of this government.
In terms of justice , as defined by Michael J Sandel , I think the authorities have only one choice : reward GP surgeries by providing genuine protection limiting the list of services available.

‘’Arguments about justice and rights are often arguments about the purpose, or telos, of a social institution, which in turn reflect competing notions of the virtues the institution should reward and honour .”
Michael J Sandel

Luqman Rajput 19 June, 2021 1:25 pm

Wish I could ask him to support us in front of public but he is a politician.

terry sullivan 26 June, 2021 1:31 pm

hes lying–he desnt give a toss