Covid vaccines cancelled at four Suffolk centres today – this is why

Doctor Parikh with the Pfizer vaccine, which is being rolled out at Constable Country Medical Practice.  

Four Covid-19 vaccination centres run by the Suffolk GP Federation have temporarily closed - Credit: Charlotte Bond

Four coronavirus vaccination centres in Suffolk have closed for the day after they were delivered vaccines with a shorter than expected lifespan.

The four centres, in Stowmarket, Haverhill, Woodbridge and Debenham, closed on Monday morning due to the issue which arose over the weekend.

Suffolk GP Federation, which operates the centres, had been delivered batches of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine with a three-day lifespan – shorter than the three-and-a-half day lifespan they had expected to receive.

A number of appointments were cancelled as a result, and the issue has now forced the temporary closure of the centres.

A fresh batch of doses has been delivered however, and the centres are due to open again tomorrow.

David Pannell, chief executive of Suffolk GP Federation, said those who have had their appointments cancelled have been contacted to arrange a new booking.

Mr Pannell said: “We were due to be vaccinating for a half-day at The Mix, Stowmarket, today but, unfortunately, because the vaccine expired we received within three days rather than the three-and-a-half days we were expecting, we have had to cancel today’s appointments.

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“We recognise this is very inconvenient for the people affected and apologise to them. They have all been contacted and invited to make a new appointment, and vaccinating at The Mix will resume in the morning.

“The issue was that we were expecting a supply of the Pfizer vaccine that we could use over three-and-a-half days but we were supplied with vaccine that had to be used within three.

“Our vaccination centre at Trinity Park, Ipswich, which opened on Saturday, is running today but our centres, at Debenham, Haverhill and Woodbridge, are also closed today for the same reason as Stowmarket’s. However, we have received a new supply of vaccine so they will also resume normal service tomorrow.”

Over the weekend, Mr Pannell described the problem as a "teething issue" and assured those concerned that no doses of the vaccine had been wasted.

He also praised the work of those involved setting up the centres during the short timeframe, commending staff in its IT department who "didn't sleep for two days" during preparation.