Published: 09:42, 26 January 2021
| Updated: 09:44, 26 January 2021
Swale’s MP has called on the Health Secretary to ensure Sittingbourne and Sheppey get enough doses of the coronavirus vaccine, after it emerged a large number of over-80s in the area are still waiting for theirs due to a shortage.
In the House of Commons on Thursday, Gordon Henderson asked Matthew Hancock what he could do to ensure both areas received further supplies in order to meet the government’s jab targets.
Mr Henderson said: “A large number of people in Sittingbourne and Sheppey over the age of 80 have not yet received their Covid vaccinations - not because of a lack of will but because of a lack of vaccine.
“On Sheppey, which has a population of 40,000, local GPs need to vaccinate more than 1,000 people each week to reach the government’s target of vaccinating every person in the first four priority groups by February.
“Last week, the Sheppey primary care network was promised 400 doses, but eventually received only 300. This week, it has been promised 1,200 doses, but local GPs worry that this quantity will be cut too.”
The top four priority groups cover residents and staff in care homes, the over 70s, frontline health and social care workers and the clinically vulnerable.
Last Monday, patients getting a Covid-19 jab at Sheppey Community Hospital had their appointments moved to Aylesham, 30 miles away, after the vaccinations turned up a day late.
Mr Henderson added: “I appreciate that my right honourable friend is constrained by the number of doses delivered by the suppliers, but what can he do to ensure that both my local primary care networks in Sittingbourne and Sheppey receive the quantity that they need to meet the government’s target?”
Mr Hancock blamed “lumpy supply” but insisted the health service was on track to quadruple the vaccine to the full 1,200 doses in areas such as Sheppey.
He added: “We are sending more doses to the areas that have made the least progress so far, to make sure that by February 15 we get that offer to everybody equally, irrespective of where they live.”