Published: 11:31, 07 January 2021
| Updated: 16:35, 08 January 2021
Health bosses hope the majority of over-80s in the Canterbury district will be vaccinated against Covid-19 in the next fortnight - but doctors say they haven't got enough.
But some doctors are frustrated that sparse and unpredictable deliveries of batches are slowing down the vaccination process.
Dr John Ribchester, senior and executive partner at Whitstable Medical Practice, believes as many as 1,000 jabs could be administered per day.
“We’ve got the capability, but we haven’t got the vaccines,” he said. “We’re injecting everything we’re being given, and we want more.”
The Whitstable team has so far inoculated more than 1,000 of its 2,500 over-80s patients, at its drive-thru vaccination site at Estuary View Medical Centre.
Following a second, smaller delivery of the Pfzier/BioNTech vaccine, volunteers then visited every care home in the Whitstable area, vaccinating all residents who did not have Covid, along with care workers.
'We’re all frustrated. Give us more vaccines, and we’ll give more vaccines...'
The practice was due its first delivery of the newly approved Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine yesterday (Wednesday), and has an “unconfirmed report” it will receive another 1,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this weekend. But Dr Ribchester says uncertainty still surrounds how many deliveries the practice will receive, and when.
“We reckon we could ramp up to doing 1,000 people a day at the drive-thru, in an eight-hour period with five injectors on-site,” he said.
“We’re all frustrated. Give us more vaccines, and we’ll give more vaccines."
His comments come after Dr John Allingham, medical director of the Kent Local Medical Committee, said doctors could vaccinate all the over-55s by Easter if given the tools by health secretary Matt Hancock.
He tweeted: "During October GPs did 5 million flu jabs. Given the AZ vaccine, freed from bureaucracy and non-essential work that could be doubled. By Easter GPs could cover all the over-55s and clinically at-risk."
Judith Marsh, who is co-ordinating the roll-out of Covid vaccines in the south of Canterbury, says more than a thousand jabs are set to be administered in the area this week. This will take the total number vaccinated by her team so far to 2,270.
“We are aiming to deliver another 1,100 vaccines this week across Canterbury South practices, plus we are visiting care homes from Thursday,” she said.
Dr Jeremy Carter, clinical director of Herne Bay Primary Care Network, says about 3,100 people will have received their first vaccination by the end of the week in Herne Bay, including about 500 care home residents and about 500 members of care home and frontline staff.
“By the end of this week, we hope to have done pretty much all of our over-80s,” he said. “We’ve got almost 3,000 in total.”
Dr Carter says Herne Bay’s 500 or so house-bound patients have not yet been vaccinated, as GPs are awaiting a delivery of the Oxford vaccine, which is easier to administer in home settings.
“We are hopefully taking delivery of that this week,” he said.
“The expectation will be that we’ll be doing house-bound patients over the next one or two weeks.”
Dr Gaurav Gupta, GP partner at Faversham Medical Practice, says most of Faversham’s over-80s patients will also be able to get their vaccine in the next couple of weeks.
“By the end of this week, across Faversham Medical Practice and Newton Place Surgery we’ll have vaccinated more than 2,000 patients,” he said yesterday.
“We’ve had another delivery today of the Pfizer vaccine, and we’re also going to get the AstraZeneca vaccine this week.
“We’re now planning to arrange vaccinations for people in care homes, which will be happening in the coming days.”
The Prime Minister hopes 13 million people - everyone over 70 and the most clinically vulnerable - can receive a jab by mid-February. Government scientists have previously said this could prevent 88% of coronavirus deaths.