Information shared by NHS England shows that as of 18 December the south east of England had the most local vaccination sites (71) as of 18 December, followed by the Midlands (69) and the north east and Yorkshire (66). here are 56 sites in the South West, 55 in the North West, 52 in the East of England and London has the fewest with 45 sites.
The figures come as prime minister Boris Johnson revealed on Monday that more than half a million people in the UK have received a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.
If all 414 of the primary care sites used all 975 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine that made up their first deliveries they will have vaccinated 403,650 patients in total.
GP practices have been asked to deliver the COVID-19 vaccination as part of their primary care network (PCN) and there is likely to be over 1,000 primary care sites providing the vaccine when they are all up and running. There are currently 1,285 PCNs but some networks have grouped together to deliver the vaccination programme.
The DHSC has also confirmed to GPonline that from the end of this week it will begin to report weekly figures of vaccination numbers.
So far three waves of primary care vaccination sites have begin vaccinating patients. On Sunday, NHS England announced that these first three waves will begin vaccinating patients in care homes this week after a trial of the processes was undertaken by a number of PCNs.
Practices have been provided with advice on how to breakdown the packs of 975 vaccines and store them while transporting them to care home sites. Or they can now order packs of 75 doses to take direct to care homes.
Taking questions on the vaccine roll-out at a Downing Street briefing on Monday evening, the prime minister said: ‘The UK is the first country to distribute a clinically approved vaccine, which has now gone into the arms of 500,000 people across the country – mainly the elderly and the vulnerable. I find that a reason for hope and for confidence and I think you should too.’
When asked whether the government would consider prioritising tier 4 areas for vaccination given the surge in cases in some areas he said that they planned to ‘stick to the [JCVI] priority list, taking out of the path as many targets as possible who are likely to die from COVID – and I think that is the sensible thing to do. And that’s why we are beginning by focusing on the 80-plus group, and those who are particularly vulnerable, and those in care homes.’
He added that the government would give a more detailed breakdown of completed vaccinations and where they had been delivered when it had ‘more immediately available data’ about the vaccine and where it was going
Most of the primary care sites have enjoyed a successful start to the immunisation programme, with Winsford Primary Care Network in Chester managing to vaccinate 975 patients in just one day. Other GPs have reported good uptake of vaccinations, with staff pulling out all the stops for a smooth delivery.
However, some practices have highlighted problems around the delivery of vaccines, with late arrivals forcing them to reschedule hundreds of appointments. Crashing computer systems and poor communication have also hampered some sites’ efforts.