The vaccine is safe. That’s the message from Dr Mike Holmes this morning, head of the York Vaccination Centre, as it prepares to deliver its 100,000th dose.
Dr Holmes is chair of Nimbuscare, the primary care group overseeing the vaccination programme in York.
He said today that there is no evidence the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine has caused blood clots, after some European nations halted its rollout.
Dr Holmes told YorkMix Radio: “It’s important that we always look at the evidence.
“We’ve given over 50,000 AstraZeneca doses at Askham Bar, 350,000 across Humber, Coast and Vale, our NHS region, and nationally, over 11 million doses of AstraZeneca.
“And what we’re seeing with the vaccine is that the rates of blood clots are no higher than what we would normally see.
“As far as we’re concerned, it’s safe. Please come and get it if you’re asked to come and get it.”
He said both the UK regulator the MHRA says the vaccine is safe, “and it’s great to see the European Medicines Agency coming out with the same advice”.
Someone will get the 100,000th dose of the vaccine delivered at the Askham Bar vaccination centre today.
And the site will welcome a “special visitor” to mark the milestone.
Dr Holmes told the Breakfast Show’s Ben Fry it was a “great landmark”: “What it means is is that we’re making phenomenal progress.
“It’s not just Askham Bar, of course – we’ve got other sites around the city at Haxby, Pocklington and Elvington. And at Selby and Tadcaster – there’s places all across North Yorkshire, providing vaccine services.
“And together we’re making great progress.”
He said: “We are going to meet the target of the over 50s well in advance of the the early April deadline set by the government.”
GP practices will be contacting over 50s, but they can also go online here to book an appointment.
They have also started giving second doses at Askham Bar this week, Dr Holmes said.
“It was fantastic to welcome our over 80 cohort back to get their full protection yesterday and and we’ll be continuing that today.
“Yesterday, we had some queues as people were coming back for second doses.
“We’ve worked on that overnight. And we’re very confident that, if we did have queues yesterday, that they were teething problems and it’ll be hopefully a shorter experience for people coming today.”