Sajid Javid, the NHS’s head of West London told people that they should wait until Saturday to receive a booster.
Today’s big push for boosters is in turmoil. There are two-month waiting lists online, and some GPs or NHS walk-in centers have already ignored Government guidelines and given jabs to everyone over 18s without delay.
MailOnline received a flood of emails from subscribers who had been eligible for a jab several times – sometimes for months – but were unable to obtain an appointment. This is because in 2021, a third (or more) of all mass vaccinations centre closed.
Despite 500 new vaccination sites opening since April, the rate of vaccination has plunged from 800,000 per day in March this year to just 342,000 on average now. At the current rate, it will take three-and-a-half months for the programme to reach everybody — sometime in March.
One Government source stated that Boris Johnson is doubtful about his ability to hit the 500,000 jabs per day target. Another insider claimed: “No date has been set yet for inviting under-40s.” A second government source added: “We should have fixed our roof when the sun was shining, and given everyone a boost weeks ago. Instead we’ve waited for a new variant to come and now it’s panic stations’.
About 18 million people were eligible for a booster, out of the 25,000,000 who had been eligible. Boris Johnson has arranged for 53 million Britons to be offered boosters.
Sajid Javid, a physician for the under-40s, has advised them to remain patient while they wait for their GP’s call. But it seems some NHS pharmacies and parts of the NHS are getting involved.
Park Royal Medical Practice, which is part of the Central Middlesex Hospital in west London, is advertising a mass vaccination event for ‘everyone’ over the age of 18 who is already double-jabbed, with at least three months since the last dose.
People were driving for over 30 miles to get to a Bristol NHS Centre because there was not enough staff. However, the wait took more than two hours, and many people were refused.
MailOnline received a request from a Kent 55-year old to book one. She said that she was told by the NHS to visit Essex to get a jab. So, she went to Chatham’s walk-in centre but was refused.
Another patient (67 years old) said that he tried for two weeks to book an appointment for a booster using the number 119 but was told that no appointments are available. He also stated that his doctor advised him to wait before contacting them. A woman in her 40s claimed that the NHS site refused to allow her to book, despite being eligible for it on both age and due her severe asthmatic condition.
Because the wait time for the booster and 2nd Covid jab is now reduced to 3 months, vaccine walk-ins in Bristol are becoming increasingly popular.
The Prime Minister stated Tuesday night at a Downing Street press conference that he will “throw all” at booster vaccination campaigns to stop the spread of the variant.
Everybody who is eligible will be given a booster shot by January 31st. At least 400 military personnel are expected to help the NHS and the vaccination centers “popping up like Christmas tree” he said.
Today, Health Secretary Javid bows to pressures from Physicians who would rather have less work and be able to concentrate on the vaccination program.
Face-to-face appointments, which have been slowly returning over the summer and autumn, could be abandoned as well as some admin as family doctors become the frontiers of the UK’s mammoth jab drive.
Boris Johnson’s plans to increase the number of pharmacies that offer the jab, from the current 1,400 to the planned 2,900 at the end of this month are being criticized by pharmacists. This is despite GPs and pharmacists being offered payments of £15 a jab – up £2.50 – to increase capacity, with an extra £5 for doses delivered on Sundays.
Javid, Mr. Dr. Judith A. Smith has been advocating for more doctor-in-person consultations. These are still five percent lower than the pre-pandemic level. However, GPs will now be allowed to disregard these targets and deliver booster jabs in order to make sure every person in the UK has an appointment before January 31st. This is to help increase the protection against Omicron.
The Health Secretary said that the NHS was working with GP representatives to address this issue.
“I feel confident that they will find a way to suspend some of the work of GPs temporarily or provide other assistance so that they can focus on vaccine delivery.
He urged those who had difficulty booking booster jabs to get in touch with their MP.
He stated that if they had not contacted their GP, then they could contact their Member Of Parliament. They will be able to reach me directly to discuss their concerns and I will help as much as possible.
According to GPs, some other work needs to be eliminated in order for them and their patients to take part in the jab battle.
Gary Howson (Vice Chairman of Royal College of GPs) stated that GPs work at their full potential right now. If we want to focus our attention on the vaccine programme, then we need to make some important decisions about where clinical value is greatest.
“Understandably there’s concern about the new variant, especially while we wait for the science. And it seems that the best strategy for decreasing the future consequences is to maximize those booster quantities.
“We will be ready to play our role in the program as we did in previous years. Understanding what it is possible to cease doing will help us to make informed decisions. Audits and tick box activities are all things that distract us from our work. We need the Government’s manifesto promises to add 6,000 more doctors and to recruit 26,000 additional team members before 2024.
Leyla Hanbeck, the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies CEO, stated: “Throughout the pandemics and the lockdowns I have been open and providing accessible care for my patients. We have been pushing for the participation of more pharmacists in the vaccine program since the beginning of the year.
“At present, there are around 1400 pharmacies that provide the vaccination service. They have already delivered 15m jabs. Another 1,500 pharmacies are needed to join the government’s vaccination service. While we have the infrastructure and willingness to be more involved, we need to receive support from government to ensure that funding is available for the teams and support them in their daily work.
“We have to ensure we get adequate compensation for these to make sure nobody is left out of pocket. It must be business as usual.
“At the moment, we’re under great pressure due to flu jabs as well as smashing all records. We do need more staff’.
Amanda Pritchard, NHS England’s chief executive, said she is looking at how GPs can ‘deliver even more jabs by cutting other burdens on them’.
Ministers called for increased in-person consultations by doctors, although they are still about a fifth less than before the pandemic.
In an effort to protect against Omicron, the GPs now expect to provide booster jabs.
Doctors and community pharmacists have dished out ‘the lion’s share of the vaccinations so far’ and they will be paid £15 per jab they dish out over the next two months, Ms Pritchard said.
However, it is likely that there will be fewer patients who visit their GP to see them. These appointments are currently running at only about half the levels of pre-pandemic.
Boris Johnson, who was present today to unveil the stepped-up booster drive that will protect the country against Omicron after another eight cases were discovered in England, revealed the plan.
Plan B includes opening new vaccination centers, recruiting volunteers and drafting into the Army.
Today, Ms Pritchard, along with the Prime Minister and Health secretary Sajid Javid spoke at a Downing Street Press Conference. She said that ‘our hard-working community pharmacists, GPs and primary care colleagues have provided the majority of vaccinations. They are currently looking for ways to help deliver additional jabs and reduce other burdens so that clinicians have more time.
This afternoon, Ms Pritchard, along with the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary Sajid Javid spoke out at a Downing Street conference.
“We’re looking into how they can deliver more jabs, cutting out other burdens and freeing up time for clinicians.
“And they will be properly rewarded for all their efforts, in particular when they make time to visit patients with disabilities who cannot travel to the vaccination site.
GPs will get £15 for every injection they administer – up from the current £12.58 fee.
Doctors and pharmacists will also get a £5 bonus per shot if they do on Sundays, as well as a £30 premium for jabs delivered vulnerable people in their homes.
And the Care Quality Commission, the regulator for health and social care services in England, will stop routinely inspecting general practice ‘to free up clinicians’ time’, Ms Pritchard said.
The rollout of the program will reduce the number of face-to-face appointments for GPs, who are currently running at about half the levels before the outbreak.
NHS England data showed that 64% of October’s GP visits were face-to–face. This is a significant increase from the eight-in-ten before the pandemic.
Mr Javid announced a £250million package for GP surgeries last month to help doctors offer more in-person consultations.
However, doctors rejected plans that included ‘naming and Shaming’ of practices which did not provide sufficient numbers.
Doctors believe that some patients prefer to have virtual consultations, although there are instances where vulnerable persons are not able access the services they require.
Coroners warn that distant appointments could have led to death.
According to one NHS executive, getting GPs involved in the vaccine rollout is ‘a big ask’. He added that it was extremely challenging to reach the January goal due to the lack of volunteers, medics and other facilities following the closure of a third the number of centres.
And a GP practice manager tweeted: ‘Cash won’t make much difference, it’s the workload & workforce that’s the problem. This is not about the people who call patients and organise rotas.
Total 18million Britons have received a booster jab thus far. Yesterday’s guidance changes will make it possible for all 53 million adults aged 18 and over to be eligible. If everyone is given a booster at the current rate (2.4million per week), it will take them until March.
A rapid vaccination center was established outside Bolton Town Hall, June. It is used to administer vaccines for combat medics of Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps. NHS leaders are said to demanding them back to help with the current rush for boosters
Chair of BMA England GP Committee Dr Farah Jamel stated today that less important appointments such as routine blood pressure checks, should be canceled. These contracts are binding on us. For months, we have been calling on that this be lifted. She said that we are “a burned out workforce”.
“What we want is a shift in the focus of clinical priorities. It is impossible to deliver all. It is important to concentrate on the clinical needs. Right now, we need to focus our efforts on the massive implementation of a booster and vaccination program. But we’re distracted by scattered priorities. It is important that we are released from our contractual obligations’.
Elle added that there is an obsession about undeliverable goals. All our contractual targets have been switched off since April, which correlates to practices quitting the vaccine scheme due to a lack of workers.
Announcing the new booster plans today, the Prime Minister revealed he is drafting in the Army again to get jabs in arms, as he promised to deliver another ‘great British vaccination effort’.
In addition to the paid vaccine volunteers, 10,000 additional volunteers are being recruited by the Government.
Johnson stated to Downing Street that the new vaccination centers will “pop up like Christmas trees”.
Because Omicron is a more evolved strain, scientists have warned that boosters won’t provide the same protection as Delta.
The UK has seen 22 Omicron-related cases so far. There are also new Omicron infections in Haringey and Barnet in London, Liverpool and North Norfolk.
No10 hopes the immunity boost will offer some additional protection against this variant.
Sajid Javid, Health Secretary, said that the Government had set “hugely ambitious goals and that we are asking for a lot from the NHS”.
He stated, “But I don’t doubt that they’ll rise to the challenge as they’ve done during this pandemic.”
According to Mr Javid, everyone plays a role in the national mission and we must all ‘roll up and be protected whenever the opportunity arises’ for the best Christmas possible with loved ones.