All over-80s in Suffolk to get vaccine within two weeks as rollout accelerates

The Covid-19 vaccination centre gets up and running at Trinity Park in Ipswich. Margaret Riches gets

Margaret Riches gets her vaccination at the Trinity Park Covid-19 vaccination centre in Ipswich. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

All people aged over 80 in Suffolk should have been vaccinated against Covid-19 within the next two weeks, a health boss has said.

David Pannell, who is overseeing the vaccination of almost half the county's population, said centres across the county would be receiving twice as many vaccines as they did last week and he was confident the rollout would "really accelerate" in the coming week.

A week after NHS figures showed the East of England had vaccinated the fewest proportion of over-80s in the country, Mr Pannell, chief executive of Suffolk GP Federation, said all over-80s should have received an invite to a vaccination within the next 36 hours.

He said: "Two weeks ago, only two hospitals and a few practices were vaccinating. Now all of the sites are up and running.

"We've noticed that we can vaccinate more people than we were expecting, which is really good for the future, but at the moment the constraint is how much vaccine we get."

Other at risk groups are also expected to be vaccinated in the near future.

"There is a real drive on to get all the care homes done by January 24 and we're on track to definitely do that as long as the care home doesn't have a Covid outbreak," Mr Pannell said. 

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Vaccinations in homes for people with learning disabilities and for people who are housebound are expected to start within the next week as well.

Mr Pannell said the Federation was continuing to fine-tune the vaccine rollout — including by making its website more usable and increasing its phone capacity after an issue that left GP surgeries inundated with calls.

Despite this some issues still remain, including one in which centres received a shipment of vaccines that expires in three days — rather than the expected three-and-a-half.

Mr Pannell described the problem as a "teething issue" and emphasised that no doses were being wasted.

He said: "Because of the expiry date, we need to create more appointments earlier within the cycle period. That means we had to cancel out others."