Health bosses defend pace of ‘too slow’ vaccine rollout

Health bosses in Shropshire have defended the pace of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout following criticism it had got off to a “slow start”.

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

It comes after Telford & Wrekin Council’s leader Shaun Davies said the programme had got off to a “slow start” in the county.

He also says counties with lower infection rates have actually had higher numbers of vaccines delivered already.

However, mass vaccination sites are preparing to open in Telford, Shrewsbury and Ludlow in the coming weeks, while jabs continue to be given at hospital hubs, care homes and some GP practices and pharmacies.

Preparations are now under way to open Telford International Centre as a vaccination centre next week, with others planned for Shrewsbury and Ludlow in the first week of February, and another for north Shropshire later next month.

It comes as other smaller vaccination sites in Newport and Wellington are also expected to start operating next week.

But Councillor Davies said: “We have been banging on the doors trying to speed up the programme here in Telford and Wrekin – we are sadly behind many areas.

“I’m told Telford International Centre, AFC Telford United Football Club and Newport are all set to open next week with appointments available very soon.

Ambition

“So good news. The next challenge and our next campaign must be to get our borough to the national average and beyond as soon as possible.

“With the great news from the NHS that appointments will be offered to the over 70s and extremely clinical vulnerable, we need to see some rapid progress locally.

"Sadly it’s been a slow start.”

An NHS spokesman said: “The pace of the rollout of the vaccine services continues in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and we are working hard to finalise arrangements for further vaccination services in the community in the coming weeks.

“It remains our ambition that by the middle of February we will have delivered the Covid-19 vaccine to the four top priority groups as outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.”

Nobody needs to contact the NHS, as people will be invited when it is their turn.

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