Birmingham and Black Country health chiefs are finalizing plans to mass roll out the new Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – with the first injections expected this week.
We understand that the first deliveries to centers and hospitals run by general practitioners in the region are imminent.
Plans are underway to set up mass vaccination centers to quickly deliver the vaccine to hundreds of thousands of people over the next three months.
But for now, NHS chiefs are refusing to reveal more details, while other organizations involved in the deployment remain on the low side, directing all requests to the NHS.
GPs say they are waiting for updates on delivery.
The first doses of the new vaccine were given to George Eliot Hospital in Nuneaton yesterday, the only place in the West Midlands not to start distributing it yet.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged a national message last night that millions of people in the most at-risk categories would receive their first doses of vaccine in mid-February, and most would be of the newly authorized Oxford-AstraZeneca version, given the green light just before Christmas.
The ambitious plan would involve immunizing all nursing home residents, their caregivers, all people over the age of 70, all frontline health and social workers, and all those who are clinically extremely vulnerable during this time. short time period.
“We are currently deploying the largest vaccination program in our history,” said the Prime Minister.
“So far in the UK we have vaccinated more people than in the rest of Europe combined.
He said the pace of vaccination was “picking up” with the arrival of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine.
The government says it has ordered enough doses of the vaccine for every adult to be vaccinated now that the vaccine developed by scientists at the University of Oxford and Astra Zeneca has been approved.
And to a a special regional briefing hosted by Mayor Andy Street Last week, Dr Lola Abudu of Public Health England said the national rollout of the vaccine would start “from Monday”.
At the local level, health chiefs have expressed optimism that the schedule is perfectly achievable, subject to the arrival of supplies.
Paul Jennings, managing director of Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group, which oversees the vaccination program in the region, said approval of the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine was ‘fantastic’ and ‘game changer’.
“We could be on the other side in 12 weeks. We are so close. ”
He said plans were in place locally to deploy the new vaccine “at high speed” by the tens of thousands, with the only limitation being the supply.
“Our capacity is there and ready – we’ll use whatever we have.”
The hopeful message was repeated by Dr David Rosser, chief executive of the University of Birmingham Hospitals NHS Trust, who said it was a moment of real optimism, especially for hospital staff currently under high pressure with ever-increasing admissions of critically ill coronavirus patients.
NHS England manages all information released to the media and the public, in partnership with clinical commissioning groups and hospitals.
Sally Robinson, head nurse at CCGs Black Country and West Birmingham, said in a recent briefing: “We will continue to build more hospitals and immunization services in the coming weeks to ensure that all our communities have access to Covid-19. vaccine.
“Vaccination centers treating large numbers of patients will subsequently be opened when new vaccine stocks become available; we will confirm these sites when we are able to do so. ”
The existing Pfizer vaccine continues to be offered to patients across the region, with more than 80 patients among the first recipients.
More than 20,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine have been administered to date in Birmingham and Solihull.