When do we want vax? Now! But everyone is getting frustrated that in south west Shropshire “now” is slipping away into the future. Philip Dunne asked a question of the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock today about the problems of vaccination in south west Shropshire. He got a promise of an answer and we await that.
The complexity of the NHS has not helped vaccine rollout. We have top down vaccination centres and local GP delivery. If only it was as simple as that. Frankly, it is a mess. The urgent health priorities are becoming overwhelmed by the bureaucracy of the NHS.
What worries me most is that consensus on how to go forward and how to provide information is breaking down. Nationally and locally.
Media reports today announced the Church Stretton hub. Based at the Mayfair Centre, this centre will support the rollout of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine across south west Shropshire. This RNA vaccine is challenging to store and distribute. It must be kept in special freezers to keep it viable. It can only be moved from place to place a few times. It will be collected by GP surgeries ready to go into your arm. But the dates aren’t that clear. There is an abundance of confusion on when we will get a jab and where.
The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine will be easier to work with. But we have no idea when we will get supplies.
Ludlow’s response to this epidemic has been exceptional. Pulling Together Ludlow. Hands Together Ludlow. Neighbours. Friends. Information on where we are at in a crisis unique in our lifetimes. Why we should be scared more than why we should be confident. Much more.
We are the only town to have invited an expert panel of two GPs and the Director of Public Health for Shropshire to answer your questions. That project is still going and we will be asking for new questions shortly.
But ten months into this beast of an epidemic, there are signs that the consensus is breaking down. Nationally and locally. There are lots of tensions and some are being shared on Facebook.
We need calm. There is only one enemy. Covid-19.
That is why it was helpful that Ludlow MP Philip Dunne tackled Matt Hancock today on the problem with vaccine supplies in south west Shropshire.
When we get an answer. When we get vaccine. We might be able to proceed with tackling the public health emergency.
We need vaccine. When do we want it? Now.
I applaud my right hon. Friend and his colleagues across the NHS, especially here in Shropshire, for the massive effort by so many people to get this vaccination into those in the highest priority groups so quickly. However, there are still some parts of the country where only care homes and NHS frontline staff have been vaccinated, and in the South West Shropshire primary care network, no one in the community over 80 has yet received the vaccine, and none are expected to until late next week. May I ask my right hon. Friend, in common with the pleas made by a number of colleagues, to look at prioritising deliveries for those areas where the highest priority groups have yet to receive the vaccinations that they are being led to believe are now widely available?
Across Shropshire, and Telford and the Wrekin, 14,000 doses have been delivered to the over-80s. I will look into the specific question of the primary care network that my right hon. Friend raises, because I was not aware of that fact. Clearly, Shropshire is vaccinating the over-80s but I will look into that specific. It is true that, right across the country, the catch-up is absolutely vital in areas if they are behind, because it is right that this is done fairly across the country. I will get back to my right hon. Friend with the details of the individual case that he raises.