National rationing of COVID-19 vaccines is likely to begin next week as supplies are diverted to regions that have fallen behind in the programme, it was reported today.
Practices in many parts of the country have now been told they will not get supplies next week, The Times reports. The aim will be to ensure adequate supplies for London and the east of England, regions which have fallen behind in giving appointments to over 80s. Practices were given the green light earlier in the week to begin vaccination of over-70s, leading to reports of them being overwhelmed with calls. The latest restrictions may delay this programme in many areas.
GP Dr Ollie Harte, from Sheffield, told the paper he had been told to expect no supplies for nine days. He said: “It is a similar situation across all the GP hubs in Sheffield. We have all worked incredibly hard to ready the response and we’re all now craving supplies.”
Dr Joe Manners, from Headington, Oxford, said his practice would only get 400 doses next week – and this was “frustrating.” An NHS spokeswoman said: “Every GP-led vaccination site will receive a delivery this week. To ensure all of those in the priority groups can get vaccinated quickly, more supplies are going to areas that have jabbed fewer people in these cohorts next week.”
The UK yesterday reported 38,905 new cases and 1,820 new deaths from the virus, an increase of more than 200 in the daily number of reports of fatalities.