Appearing via video link, Dr Zoe Norris spoke about how the vaccine roll-out is working where she lives in Bridlington, Yorkshire.
The GP explained that the roll-out itself is working ‘brilliantly’ in most doctors surgeries, although, what isn’t working so well is the ‘supply chain’ of the vaccine.
‘The fact that we are sent vaccines in a really unpredictable manner with very little notice sometimes,’ she began.
‘We don’t get enough needles or syringes to give all the doses.’
‘We have been made aware that there will be supply issues from various manufacturers,’ Naga replied.
Naga pushed Dr Zoe for an answer (Picture: BBC)
‘A shortage of needles and syringes, those are things you use all the time, why is there a shortage there?’
Dr Zoe went on to explain that the syringes they use for the vaccine are ‘zero waste syringes’, so they are different to what they usually use.
‘They’re not the kind of thing we have in surgeries,’ she continued. ‘Each vial of the vaccine has a certain number of uses we can get out of it.
‘So for instance for the Pfizer vaccine, that was five doses but actually we can get six and they only send us enough needles and syringes for five doses.’
Dr Zoe said the surgeries aren’t being sent enough needles (Picture: BBC)
Naga then quizzed the GP as to whether doses were being ‘wasted’, to which she replied: ‘I think all surgeries that are vaccinating are trying incredibly hard not to waste them.
‘The challenge is you don’t often know until the end of the day because you continue drawing up and in the last hour or so in the day, it then becomes apparent that you might have spare doses.’
Pushing her further for an answer Naga chipped in: ‘I am reading between the lines and thinking perhaps some have been wasted?’
‘We are all aiming for a less than 5% wastage figure, that’s what we have been asked to do,’ Dr Zoe answered.
‘Most days we have had zero wastage locally, but that is because staff have been willing to stay.’
Last week it was reported that doctors are being told to ‘throw-away’ leftover vaccines instead of using them on staff or giving patients a second dose.
The instructions are said to have been sent by local NHS bosses to doctors in charge of clinics.
Some medics who have had to quickly organise clinics say they have ended up with surplus doses and wanted to repurpose them.
Dr Robert Morley, the director of professional support at the Birmingham Local Medical Committee, told The Telegraph explained that the orders were ‘extremely counterproductive, nonsensical and ludicrous’.
‘This is ridiculous, bordering on the criminal, to actually be wasting vaccines when you have the worst global healthcare crisis for a century.’
‘Dose surpluses were not the fault of GPs,’ he added.
BBC Breakfast airs daily at 6am on BBC One.