Along with our local councillors, I have been inundated with concerned residents still waiting for the call from their GP. Anyone who watched the Urgent Question in the House of Commons today, to Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, will have seen this situation is being replicated across the UK, with the rollout moving at different paces for a multitude of different reasons, but fundamentally because there is not yet enough vaccine supply for everyone.
New data is now being released about the vaccine rollout and so far over 100,000 vaccines have been given in Devon. Data is not available at a district level, although I have been requesting it, but having just spoken with the team responsible for the rollout in Devon I can confirm that almost 50% of the over 80s have received the vaccine and the remaining 50% are due to receive it before next Thursday. Letters should start to be sent out during the end of this week. The Barnstaple centre will be running more than two days next week, and the roving hubs which will reach our more rural parts will also be arriving.
The granularity of the data will improve in the coming weeks, but please be assured, that the figures here for under 80s are all our fantastic NHS and social care staff who are also in the top JCVI groups. https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/
I was able to ask the Secretary of State about the situation in North Devon today which is available on my website here: https://www.selainesaxby.org.uk/health-questions-covid-roll-out-21st-january-2021 and is also available on my Facebook and Twitter pages.
I recognise how everyone wants the vaccine rollout to go quicker, but it can only go as quickly as the vaccine supply allows. To date we have vaccinated over 5 million people nationwide. Unfortunately, some of the information circulating locally is not accurate about the North Devon rollout. I am in daily contact with the NHS Teams responsible for the vaccine rollout and continue to do everything I can to ensure North Devon is vaccinated in a timely manner, which it is. This information is from the NHS team managing the vaccine rollout across Devon in response to media coverage yesterday:
“Hopefully I can reassure on a number of the points as there are some inaccuracies.
- The North Devon site is getting the biggest delivery of any site in Devon this week which is coming in over three days throughout this week.
- No areas in Devon are delivering to the 4th priority group all areas still have group 1 and 2 to deliver to.
- Supply of vaccine has been prioritised to areas where there is the highest numbers of over 80’s hence the supplies coming into North Devon this week.
- There is sufficient vaccine coming into Devon to ensure all over 80’s are offered a vaccine and this should be complete towards the middle of next week, when we will go further into the third and then the fourth priority groups with the aim to vaccinate groups 1-4 by middle of February in line with the government ambitions.
It is clear that our sites could operate more days a week but no area is at a disadvantage and we continue to seek assurance on equity in line with JCVI groups.”
For clarity the four JCVI priority groups are:
- residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
- all those 75 years of age and over
- all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
And more information on the vaccination prioritisation is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-30-december-2020/joint-committee-on-vaccination-and-immunisation-advice-on-priority-groups-for-covid-19-vaccination-30-december-2020
Everyone through all layers of government and our NHS are committed to distributing the vaccine as rapidly as possible, but these are new vaccines and supply is still being ramped up and this is the case across the entire country and county. Devon has a higher than average population in the top 4 groups, combined with huge rurality, and I hope everyone agrees that the hope is to reach everyone in the top two priority groups by the end of next week is to be warmly welcomed.