GP jabbing teams in Bedford are ready to move on to cohort six of the nine highest COVID-19 risk groups from next week, a meeting heard.
Teams running the local vaccination sites in the borough have been vaccinating at the rate of more than 1,000 people a day – but anyone who has missed out so far in cohorts 1-5 can still get their vaccination.
Cohort six is all people aged 16 to 64 years-old with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality. Nationally it is by far the biggest single cohort of people to be vaccinated.
Dr John Kedward, the medical director of Bedford on call (Bedoc), said: “Next week we’ll be ready to go to cohort six as directed now by NHS England.”
Dr Kedward told Bedford Borough Council’s local outbreak engagement board that an increased supply of vaccine meant they had now jabbed more than 21,000 people in five weeks.
And by Sunday that should be 24,000, and that figure does not include the mass vaccination centre at Bedford Heights, which is coordinated nationally.
Speaking at Thursday evening’s update Dr Kedward said that the supply for next week had only been confirmed within the last hour.
This means that for Monday’s appointments, GPs will have to try to book 1,000 people for the first jabs of the week by the end of today (12 February 2021). And then a further 6,000 by the end of next week.
Dr Kedward said if they knew how much vaccine they were getting in two or three weeks’ time, they could send letters out. They are having to bring more people in to be able to ring up patients.
But he said that Bedford’s vaccine supply for the next 10 days has been secured.
It means they expect to mop up people in care homes, the housebound and people living in learning disability homes in the next few days.
Once cohort six is done, cohort 7 will vaccinate the over 60s, cohort 8 is the over 55s and cohort nine is the over 50s. Some 99 per cent of those who die from coronavirus have been in those nine cohorts.
The meeting heard that some people who have been shielding for much of the last year have been too sacred to go out, but members of the committee spoke out to encourage them.
A video is set to be produced to show all the safety measures in place at vaccination centres to encourage people to take up their appointment.