Huge 'ramping up' of Shropshire's coronavirus vaccination service expected in coming weeks

A huge 'ramping up' of the county's coronavirus vaccination service is expected in the coming weeks, with numbers of patients due to rise as many return for their second jab.

Health bosses are preparing for a vast increase in deliveries of vaccine and have given assurances that the county has the capacity to cope.

Latest NHS figures show more than 95 per cent of over-65s have now been vaccinated in the region, but the number of second vaccine doses given out so far account only for around 3,000, due to the 12-week gap which is being followed nationally.

This number is expected to accelerate rapidly in the coming months, while new cohorts of patients will also be able to get their first jab.

Dr Julian Povey, chair of Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Groups, said a total of about 187,000 doses had been given to patients in the county by the end of Wednesday.

Over 56s started to receive their invites on Saturday, and Dr Povey says it will be rolled out to the next age group on the priority list as soon as possible.

He said: "As soon as we can we will roll it out to the next group but the flow of vaccine is still controlled nationally.

"We are seeing a big ramping up over the next two weeks of the amount of vaccine that's being delivered nationally to different systems and that's primarily because we are having to start doing the second dose.

"There will be second and first doses happening, so it means almost a doubling of the amount of people that are going through the system.


"The plan is to have increased capacity. There is capacity within both the mass vaccination sites and also the primary care network sites.

"Vaccine supply was the problem earlier on but once we've got vaccine supply increasing there can be capacity to give those injections.

"There's volunteers and non medical people, the fire service are doing vaccinations, but a lot of the staff are healthcare workers who are doing extra on top of their day jobs.

"It's amazing people are doing that. It wouldn't be possible without the volunteers and the dedication of the healthcare staff."

The decision to delay second doses of Covid vaccines in an effort to vaccinate more older people has been credited with saving a “large number” of lives, after data suggested hospital admissions are being greatly reduced by the rollout.

Latest figures show there were 63 Covid patients being cared for at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital and Telford's Princes Royal Hospital on Tuesday, which has fallen rapidly since the end of January.

Dr Povey said the vaccination programme had been an 'amazing success'.

He said: "Although there's still challenges with the vaccine system, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin have gone from being near the bottom in terms of performance to Telford being the top across many categories and Shropshire being in the top 10.

"Lot of thanks to everyone who has taken part in it."

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