Earlier this month primary care medical director Dr Nikki Kanani told GPs that UK supply would be limited during the third and fourth week of April.
At the time Dr Kanani stressed that the vaccination programme was largely geared up to focus on second-dose vaccinations during this time.
GPs have now been told in an NHS England webinar on 22 April that they would not receive further first dose supply in the weeks commencing 26 April and 3 May.
NHS England director of primary care vaccination Dr Caroline Temmink told the webinar that there was sufficient stock already in the system for first doses in JCVI cohort 10 – covering patients aged 40-49 – and stressed that vaccination sites should not yet administer jabs outside cohorts 1-10.
Dr Temmink added that GPs should continue to offer vaccination to all those in cohorts 1-9, who are yet to be vaccinated – and offer jabs to care home workers yet to be vaccinated. First-dose jabs are currently focused on cohort ’10a’ – those aged 45-49 – and above, but guidance on vaccinating people aged 40- 44 was likely next week, Dr Temmink confirmed.
She said: ‘Second doses remain our priority at the moment, so it’s really important that we continue to encourage people to come back for their second dose. We want people to go back to the same place they had their first dose wherever possible.
‘We know that there is sufficient stock out there already in systems in terms of vaccinating cohort 10. We are down to people aged 45 at the moment, and we are expecting some more guidance next week on the vaccination of people aged 40-44.
‘Please do remember to keep going back around and offering vaccinations to people in cohorts 1 and 9 who haven’t yet been vaccinated. So we do ask you to keep focusing on those first cohorts from 1-10a.’
She added that if practices do not have sufficient supplies of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for people in cohorts 1-9 aged under 29, additional supply was available and they should contact their system vaccination operations centre (SVOC).
Under guidance published this month people aged under 30 should be offered alternatives to the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine amid concerns over a link to rare blood clots.
Earlier this week Dr Kanani praised GPs for their efforts in helping to save lives after COVID-19 vaccine uptake tripled among all patients from minority ethnic backgrounds from February to April.
More than 11m people UK-wide have received both doses of COVID-19 vaccine – just over four months after GPs began delivering jabs in mid-December.