BRITISH GPs have been told to ‘stand down’ routine care and focus on delivering the Covid jab in a bid to get the most vulnerable immunised.
The push to vaccinate more than 13million of the most vulnerable by mid-February comes as MPs tonight backed the new lockdown in England.
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GPs in the UK have been told to prioritise Covid vaccines over routine careCredit: PA:Press Association
It comes as a mutant super-infectious strain of Covid forces England back into lockdownCredit: AFP or licensors
Boris Johnson has vowed that 13million of the most vulnerable Brits will get their vaccine by mid-FebruaryCredit: HOC/JESSICA TAYLOR
Boris Johnson and his ministers have vowed to relieve the strict shutdown as early as possible – but have now admitted it’s unlikely to be until the March.
Now medics have been told to prioritise on getting the jab to as many Brits as possible in the coming weeks to meet the deadline.
Doctors have been given advice to “postpone other activities” by the British Medical Association, the Telegraph reports.
Professor Martin Marshall, the chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said GPs were “working incredibly hard” to deliver the vaccination programme.
He told the paper: “The approval of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine means general practice will play an even greater role in the Covid vaccination programme.
“This will mean that some workload prioritisation is necessary, focusing on de-prioritising non-essential tasks such as routine health checks, to keep general practice – and in turn the rest of the NHS – sustainable.”
But pharmacies have hit out after claiming they’ve been snubbed in efforts to roll out the vaccine to a million Brits a week.
Meanwhile, elderly people are having desperately-needed appointments cancelled because doctors have not received their stocks on time, MailOnline reports.
On Wednesday, more than a thousand new deaths were recorded for the first time since April
Hospitals are close to breaking point as admissions surge Credit: PA:Press Association
Meanwhile, schools have closed yet againCredit: London News Pictures
Some GPs say they still haven’t got their first batch – despite being promised doses before Christmas – while others say deliveries have been cancelled several times.
The PM says vaccines offer “the means of our escape” from the shutdown as Wednesday’s daily death toll exceeds 1,000 for the first time since April.
Mr Johnson and his ministers have pinned their hopes on the approved jabs as a super-infectious mutant strain runs rampant in every region of England.
Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty this week revealed that one in every 50 Brits now has coronavirus, while hospital admissions are 40 per cent higher than at the peak of the first wave in April 2020.
But in brighter news, a single-shot vaccine developed by a US company may be approved in the UK by next month, scientists and Whitehall officials believe.
It’s hoped regulators will give Johnson & Johnson’s drug the green light within weeks.
The UK has already ordered 30m doses with the option of 22m more.
But the PM warned on Monday there are difficult weeks ahead as hospitals reach crisis point and the UK Covid alert is set at the highest level for the first time ever.
Lucy Watson, the chairman of the Patients Association, told the paper: “For patients to be confident that the NHS remains open for business it would be helpful for there to be clear messages from NHS England, on practice websites and in the media, about which healthcare activities are being stopped in primary care and which healthcare activities are being continued.
“Patients would also like, and deserve, much more clarity about the pace of vaccine roll-out.
“Many might be happy to accept minor disruption in the interest of speedy vaccinations.
“But many patients found their relationship with their GP was disrupted earlier in the pandemic – more disruption, without transparency or explanation, is likely to be upsetting for some patients.”
MPs tonight voted in favour of a strict new national lockdown