Fewer Covid vaccinations given in Shropshire than anywhere else in England, figures show

Fewer people have been given the Covid-19 vaccine in Shropshire than anywhere else in England, new figures show.

NHS England show the county, taking in the Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin council areas, is lagging behind other areas of the country in terms of how many doses have been given.

A total of 27,764 doses of the coronavirus vaccine were given out in the county between December 8 and January 17.

Statistics, published today, have revealed 14,031 over 80s have had their first dose, and 1,839 have received their second jabs, while 11,082 under 80s have had their first dose and 812 have received their second.

During the same timeframe, 271,536 doses of the vaccine have been given to patients in the Cumbria and North East area – the most in any area of England.

NHS chiefs from the county’s vaccination service confirmed their commitment to deliver the first vaccine dose to the four top priority groups by the middle of February.

Telford & Wrekin Council leader Shaun Davies says there needs to be rapid progress locally.

'Appalling'

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, said the numbers were "appalling". "There's no reason whatsoever that Shropshire should be so far behind other similar rural areas," he said.

"We have been asking for vaccination updates pretty much daily and I've been reassured every single time that Shropshire is on par with everywhere else.

"We have been banging on the doors about opening up more vaccination centres. We've been giving them a lot of support. "When we have been given information we have been told we are not allowed to share.

"This obsession with secrecy is unhealthy. People have the right to know."

Councillor Carroll said: "We have been promised that Ludlow Racecourse and the indoor bowling centre at Shrewsbury Sports Village will be coming online at the start of February. We've also been told Whitchurch Civic Centre by mid February."

It will also roll out to other GP surgeries and pharmacies.

It comes as South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne raised concerns with Health Secretary Matt Hancock in the House of Commons that vaccine deliveries should be prioritised to those areas, like south west Shropshire, which have yet to deploy vaccine for over 80s in the community.

Mr Hancock agreed to look into his concerns, saying the process should be done fairly.

Campaign

Dave Evans, joint accountable officer for Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “We want to reassure people across Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin that we are working as fast as we can to ensure that by the middle of February we have delivered the vaccine to the first four top priority groups, which are residents in care homes, over 70s, health and care workers and the clinically extremely vulnerable.

“We already have five vaccination sites operating in the county and have vaccinated almost half of our residents aged over 80 and have a number of other sites coming on line in the next couple of weeks.

“The vaccine will be offered to more people and at other locations across the county as soon as possible, including Telford International Centre and large sites in Shrewsbury and South Shropshire.

"Further local vaccine services provided by all our Primary Care Networks which are groups of GP practices; this includes Shrewsbury PCN, North Shropshire PCN, South West Shropshire PCN, Newport/Central PCN, and Wrekin PCN, in addition to South East Shropshire and Teldoc who were able to start in December.

"In addition local vaccine services will be provided by pharmacies, in people’s homes for those who are housebound and new dedicated vaccination centres to make sure that everyone who needs a vaccine is able to get one.

“To support these additional services that are being rolled out we have been running a local campaign, #BeAPartOfHistory, to recruit retired healthcare professionals and non-clinical staff for a range of administrative, reception and other front-of-house roles to help us get the vaccine to people as soon as possible.”

More than 3.5m people have now had the first dose of the vaccine in England.

Meanwhile, just under a quarter of people aged over 80 in Wales have received the Covid-19 vaccine, figures show.

Public Health Wales said 43,879 first doses had been given to the over-80s – 23.9 per cent of the 183,394 people in that age group.

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