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Medical Centre warns of flu jab 'perfect storm'

 
Created on 09/10/2020 @ 11:37
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Welshpool Medical Centre has expressed concern this morning that the increased demand for flu vaccinations this autumn could lead to local stocks running low, and some people missing out.

The Centre launched its annual vaccination operation this week, which has been met by unprecedented demand due to the added threat of Covid-19 this winter.

The order for this year’s stocks was made in the pre-Covid days of January, and based on previous year numbers, so the Centre has warned of a "perfect storm" of "increased demand, an insufficient supply of vaccine due to the increased demand not being anticipated at the time of ordering and a reduced number of staff in GP Practices able to safely deliver the additional vaccinations".

We have been asked to share the following statement from Drs Russell, Kiel, Aslam, Vibhishanan, Kelly, Kingham & Hirons to make readers aware of the situation.

“We have been overwhelmed by the demand for flu vaccinations and fear that not everyone who wants a vaccination will get one.

Each year, the Chief Medical Officer identifies the priority groups for vaccination. In response, we plan a military-style operation to deliver flu vaccinations, to our vulnerable patients.

This starts in January of each year when an order is placed for the vaccinations required the following Autumn. To reduce wastage, the size of the order is based on the number of patients who requested a vaccination in the previous year.

For our 2020 flu campaign, orders were placed during January, long before Covid-19 was first in the news and there was any mention of a pandemic.

As part of the preparation for this year’s campaign, all GP practices have been required to consider how they would deliver vaccinations to patients while addressing the additional complications of social distancing, the wearing of protective equipment and the availability of sufficient staff.

As a direct consequence, each vaccination will take longer to deliver and fewer patients will be seen at each flu clinic.

Taken together this has led to the perfect storm of more patients requesting a vaccination, an insufficient supply of vaccine due to the increased demand not being anticipated at the time of ordering and a reduced number of staff in GP Practices able to safely deliver the additional vaccinations.

Dr Peter Horvath-Howard, Medical Director at Dyfed Powys LMC, said: “GP’s and their teams have gone above and beyond to support patients throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and continue to support them as we face dramatically increased referral times for hospital treatment and backlogs across NHS services due to the impact of the virus.”

Dr Russell said: “The doctors and our staff are working incredibly hard to rapidly embrace new ways of working to ensure both patients and our team and our health board colleagues are protected; however we have limited resources to meet additional demand, while continuing to deliver routine consultations for our patients.

“We would ask that the public be kind to our team, be patient and bear with us during this exceptionally busy time.”

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