NHS Faces ‘Triple Challenge’ In Next Stage Of COVID Vaccine Programme

In response to the publication of the Government’s COVID Vaccine Uptake Plan and as the national target to have offered a first dose to the top four priority groups approaches on Monday (15 February), Ruth Rankine, director of the NHS Confederation’s PCN Network, said:

“All parts of the NHS have worked incredibly hard over the last two months to roll out a vaccination programme from scratch and administer doses to over 12 million people in England, and they will continue to do this over the weekend as we approach the national target for having vaccinated the top four priority groups.

“Most people are coming forward for their jabs, but we know there are groups of the population who remain reluctant or who have not yet responded to their invitations.

“This is a real challenge that primary care leaders are facing across their patient communities, but we have seen some fantastic examples of innovation in how they are improving access through better public information, local engagement and setting up vaccination facilities closer to where people live.

“We hope the Government’s Vaccine Uptake Plan will support this vital work further, particularly as the next stage of the programme will have the triple challenge of continuing to target people from the top four groups who may not have come forward yet, moving on to the next priority cohorts and shortly, booking in the second doses at the twelve-week interval.

“The need to ensure local vaccinations sites have the right supply when and where they need it, as well as for the Government to uphold its commitments and maintain communications about the two-dose schedule will be essential.”