Clinics are taking place at Richmondshire’s vaccination hub as quickly as vaccine supply allows, GPs say.
Concerns have been raised that people in priority groups are having to travel to regional hubs for their jab while the local hub at Tennants opens only intermittently.
But local GPs say the hub can only operate when they have doses of the vaccine available, with the country facing national fluctuations in supply as explained this week by England’s deputy chief medical officer Professor Jonathan Van-Tam.
With the Government wanting areas of the country to roll out the vaccine programme at the same speed, local doctors say it is also impossible for the Tennants hub to operate full-time as they would quickly overtake those areas with much larger populations.
Richmondshire Primary Care Network of GP practices told Richmondshire Today they were making “excellent progress” and were on track to offer a vaccination to all those in the remaining five priority groups by the middle of April.
A spokesperson added: “The vaccination programme is a marathon, not a sprint, and we’re asking people for their patience; we are arranging clinics at our vaccination hub at Tennants Auction House in Leyburn as quickly as supply allows and in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation priorities and national progress.
“We know some people are asking why we are not running more clinics, but – setting aside supply – if we ran the vaccine centre at full capacity all of the time we would rapidly leave other parts of the country behind, so the service can’t run every day.
“Patients can be assured, however, that if there is vaccine available we will be open and administering it to as many people as possible.
“No-one who wants to have the vaccine locally will miss out and patients will be contacted by their GP surgery when it’s their turn.
“Patients who are happy to travel can take up the NHS offer of having their vaccination at one of the larger hubs if they receive a letter inviting them to book a slot, or they can wait for an appointment at the Leyburn hub if travelling further afield is difficult.”
The spokesperson added: “We are profoundly grateful to Tennants for allowing us to use their fantastic facility, they have been incredibly accommodating and we could not have done this without them.”
Professor Jonathan Van-Tam said this week that a fall in the number of Britons being vaccinated against Covid-19 each day was down to “supply fluctuations”,
He said it would take a few months before vaccine manufacturers were able to produce doses in a steady routine, adding that “global supply restraints” have also hampered the UK’s vaccine rollout.
He said: “There are always going to be supply fluctuations.