York leaders have responded to concerns that vaccine supplies could be diverted from the region to other parts of the country.
Reports say that ministers plan to halve supplies from areas like Yorkshire that have made good progress vaccinating the top priority groups, and send them to areas which have fallen behind.
NHS England director Nikki Kanani said deliveries would be targeted on vaccination rates, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today.
York is “top of the league” in Yorkshire and Humber for carrying out vaccinations, a council meeting heard. More than 80 per cent of people in the top priority groups – residents aged over 80 and people in care homes – have been vaccinated.
In contrast the latest figures show Suffolk and north-east Essex have vaccinated just 36 per cent of people in the top priority group – the lowest level nationally.
So what will happen to supplies in York?
What they are saying
The Askham Bar vaccination centre has secured enough vaccines for at least the next two weeks, YorkMix was told this week. And they are confident of supplies going forward.
A spokesperson for the Vale of York NHS Clinical Commissioning Group – representing GP surgeries – said: “All available vaccine doses are being delivered to vaccination sites and every GP-led vaccination site is receiving a delivery this week.
“To ensure all of those people in the top priority groups can get vaccinated quickly, targeted deliveries are being made to areas where there are more people left to vaccinate in the priority cohorts.”
York Outer MP Julian Sturdy tweeted that he was at a briefing today (Thursday) where he learned that the number of vaccines expected to be delivered to Yorkshire and the North-East would decrease but not to the extent reported.
He said: “I understand that figures for Yorkshire and North-East are expected to be: this week: 364,000. Next week: 300,000.Week after: 350,000.”
York Central MP Rachael Maskell said it is important to vaccinate the most vulnerable across the country first, before moving on to the next priority groups.
“This approach will save more lives, so is right,” she said
“The problem is that the Government have raised public expectations to a level which it cannot deliver on, as it has with so many of its programmes, so this has meant that people are feeling their place in the queue is being taken away.
“If you over promise and then under deliver, then people will want to know what is going on.”
‘No one left behind’
York’s public health director Sharon Stoltz has said no one will be left behind in the vaccination programme.
She said: “We want to reassure residents that nobody will be forgotten or left behind in terms of the Covid vaccine.
“This is the largest vaccination programme the NHS has ever run and the number of people vaccinated so far in York has been encouraging.”
City of York Council leader Keith Aspden called for detailed local data about vaccine supply and uptake.
He said: “Whilst the vaccination programme is going from strength to strength locally, concerns over the access to data held by the NHS and the Government remain.
“It would be helpful if the Government gave more vaccination data; broken down by region, local authority, age and priority group.”