Many practices have refused to cancel second appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine, it has been reported.
The decision to delay the second dose by 12 weeks dismayed many doctors and practices, partly because patients were already booked in for their three week boosters. The British Medical Association promised to support practices that refused to cancel booster doses and a government minister than acknowledged that they could proceed with appointments. However, NHS England has since offered payments of £1,000 to primary care network vaccination centres to rearrange the booster programme.
Jo Wadey, director of the Institute for General Practice Management, said many practices had decided not to be “cruel” to patients by cancelling the booster shots. She told the Daily Telegraph: “GP surgeries are under unbelievable pressure, so to be asked to phone 975 elderly people to cancel their appointments was unfair on us, and really cruel to them. It’s led to people phoning up the surgeries wanting to know when they’re having the vaccine, even though it’s not under our control. We need people to be a little more patient, and kind.”
The government yesterday said 630,000 letters would be delivered by the end of the week inviting patients to its new super-vaccination centres based at seven major urban sites. NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “With more vaccine supplies now coming on stream we are rapidly accelerating the programme and these large scale NHS vaccination centres are an important new way for people to get the life-saving jab, alongside our GP and hospital services. NHS staff are under huge pressure with big rises in coronavirus infections leaving record numbers needing hospital treatment but are still pull out all the stops to deliver COVID jabs as swiftly as we can.”