‘Please wait your turn’ - GPs ‘overwhelmed’ by Covid-19 vaccine calls

Suffolk GPs are pleading with patients not to call about the coronavirus vaccine after being overwhelmed with enquiries.

Suffolk GPs are pleading with patients not to call about the coronavirus vaccine after being overwhelmed with enquiries. Picture: BioNTech SE 2020/PA Wire - Credit: PA

GPs are pleading with Suffolk patients to “wait their turn” for the Covid-19 vaccine after being overwhelmed with calls about the jab.

According to the government, 800,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine should arrive in the UK next week and the first jabs are expected to be given out shortly after.

But a spokesman for the commissioning groups behind GP surgeries across Suffolk asked residents to be patient and avoid calling their doctors for information.

He said that as primary services, GP’s already receive a high number of calls and risk being overloaded if enquiries about the vaccine continue.

The spokesman said that there were a number of “hurdles” still to be overcome before the coronavirus jab will be available across the county

One doctors’ busy practice in Suffolk has been forced to issue a plea to patients not to call or visit the surgery after a flood of inquiries from people keen to have the anti-virus vaccine.

In an urgent email message, staff at the Bildeston Health Centre near Hadleigh – which has more than 6,000 patients on its books - have asked people to wait to be told when the new drugs have arrived and vaccinations being carried out.

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Surgery staff said: “Plea from the surgery: Can we ask patients NOT to keep calling us about the Covid vaccine. We are not in a position to offer any information at this time.

“Likewise please do not walk into reception to enquire or ask for it to be given either. We really do not have any. As soon as we have full guidance on where and how the vaccines are going to be delivered we will let you know.”

The UK is the first nation to approve the vaccine which will protect the vulnerable against Covid-19.

Ipswich and East Suffolk CCG and West Suffolk CCG, said: “Although it’s great news about the vaccine can we please ask that you don’t call your GP practice asking when you’ll be able to receive it. ”

Patients are reminded that they may receive their jabs at central sites, away from their local GPs surgeries.

The Department of Health and Social Care did not respond when approached for comment.

Who will get the vaccine first?

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has looked at data on who suffers the worst outcomes from coronavirus and who is at highest risk of death in order to decide who gets the vaccine first.

Currently, the order of priority is as below:

1. Older adults in a care home and care home workers

2. All those who are 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers

3. All those who are 75 years of age and over

4. All those who are 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals, excluding pregnant women and those under 18 years of age

5. All those who are 65 years of age and over

6. Adults aged 18 to 65 years in an at-risk group

7. All those aged 60 and over

8. All those aged 55 and over

9. All those aged 50 and over

The ability of the jab to be rolled out will also play a part; the approved Pfizer jab needs to be stored at temperatures of minus 70C to minus 80C.

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