Derbyshire GPs’ anger over booster jab announcement

Derbyshire’s NHS, and in particular GPs, are fuming about the booster jab announcement which was revealed to them at the same time as the public – late on a Sunday night.

By Eddie Bisknell
Tuesday, 14th December 2021, 7:46 am

At 8pm on December 12, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that Covid-19 booster jabs would be offered to everyone aged 18 and above and that this would be carried out by the end of December.

Previous targets had been to offer everyone aged 18+ a jab by the end of January and up until last night’s announcement only those aged 30+, in frontline health and social care or clinically vulnerable were eligible for booster vaccines.

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The Prime Minister has announced an acceleration of the booster jab drive

While the public reacted to this news, our health officials were also hearing it for the same time – and that they would have to plan it all the following morning with no prior notice.

The Derby and Derbyshire Local Medical Committee (LMC) which represents the county and city’s GPs, tweeted to say: “Please note Derbyshire general practice is hearing of the accelerated vaccine programme at the same time you are.

“Further details will be cascaded ASAP. Whilst the logistics are being worked through please DO NOT call surgeries with vaccines/booster queries.”

It’s GP taskforce medical director and GP, Dr Susie Bayley, commented: “The NHS also needs everyone to be more responsible than govt and step-up social measures PLUS get PCR tested with symptoms. We can’t cope with another winter like the last.”

The Stewart Medical Centre in Buxton posted on Facebook: “We always experience a surge of calls following vaccination announcements, and whilst we are delighted to see so many keen to have their vaccine, please remember that we are hearing of the accelerated vaccine programme at the same time as you.

“So, please could we ask you NOT to call us about booster queries. It is vital that those who need urgent medical attention are able to get through. We will share further details when we have them.”

Meanwhile, statistics from the current and previous rates of vaccination in Derbyshire show how tough of an ask the end of December deadline for booster jabs is.

The latest stats (to December 11) show that Derbyshire has administered 421,248 booster jabs.

This leaves nearly half a million more people who are yet to receive their boosters – 471,009 – and must now be offered one before the end of December.

To hit this target, our health services would need to offer 23,550 boosters a day.

At the peak of the county and city’s roll-out, Derbyshire was administering 60,000 vaccinations a week – or circa 8,500 a day.

So to hit the end of December deadline, the county would have to provide 2.5 times the number of vaccines than it was administering at its peak.

However, at that peak, the county had the mass vaccination site at Derby Arena churning out 3,000 jabs a day, alongside many more mid-sized sites around the county – that is no longer the case.

Alongside this, the peak roll-out relied heavily on volunteers, including NHS and emergency services staff filling in after hours – effectively doing double shifts. Many of these volunteers are simply no longer available due to widespread healthcare pressures.