News

HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 02 February 2021

Media Summary

UK refuses to reduce 12-week gap between care homes jabs
Financial Times, Gill Plimmer & Sarah Neville, 01 February

The Financial Times reports that the UK government has ruled out narrowing the gap between doses of Coronavirus vaccine for care home residents, resisting pressure from the sector to reconsider its decision to delay the second inoculation to help stretch supplies.

Care England wrote to Matt Hancock, Health Secretary, and Chris Whitty, England’s Chief Medical Officer, suggesting it would be “pragmatic to re-evaluate the evidence” for spacing out the shots more widely, amid reports of elderly residents catching the disease weeks after receiving their first shot.

As ministers work to ensure the deadline of mid-February for vaccinating everyone aged over 70 is met, the government has opted to leave a gap of up to 12 weeks between doses to maximise the number receiving at least one vaccination. One person familiar with discussions said in practice the gap was likely to be about 11 weeks.

Asked if there was a prospect of accelerating the second jab in care homes, Helen Whately, Care Minister, told the BBC’s Today programme: “I’m not expecting to do that because we want to protect as many people as we possibly can by getting the first jab to them.”

 

Parliamentary Coverage

House of Commons, Urgent Question, 02 February

Louise Haigh (Labour, Sheffield Heeley): To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

House of Lords, Written Answer, 01 February

Lord Campbell-Savours (Labour): To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what plans he has to use the 11,300 community pharmacies in England to administer the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine at scale.

Lord Bethell (Conservative): From 14 January, six community pharmacies in England started to offer the COVID-19 vaccination service, with an additional 65 pharmacy-led sites joining from the week commencing 21 January. More pharmacies will be stood up over the coming weeks and months.

The Department, NHS England and NHS Improvement and community pharmacy representative bodies will be working together to establish how community pharmacies’ role could be expanded further in the vaccination programme.

As health is a devolved matter, the commissioning of community pharmacies to provide COVD-19 vaccination in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are decisions for the respective devolved administrations.

 

House of Lords, Written Answer, 01 February

Lord Truscott (Labour): To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they plan to include (1) community, and (2) independent, pharmacies in their plans for the administering of COVID-19 vaccines.

Lord Bethell (Conservative): Some pharmacists and members of their team are already working with general practitioners to deliver the vaccine in many areas of the country and, as more supply becomes available, community pharmacies, including independent pharmacies, will play a major role in the programme. Some pharmacies have started to offer COVID-19 vaccinations from 11 January.

 

Full Coverage

UK refuses to reduce 12-week gap between care homes jabs
Financial Times, Gill Plimmer & Sarah Neville, 01 February

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HDA UK Media and Political Bulletin – 02 February 2021

From Factory to Pharmacy

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