GP praises Sheffield's vaccination progress and says rollout will get faster
A Sheffield GP has praised the city’s progress in rolling out vaccinations, and has said that surgeries can vaccinate people ‘faster’ as long as they have the supply.
Anthony Gore, a GP at Woodseats, has been working as part of the Peak Edge primary care network that has been administering the vaccine from the surgery at Jordanthorpe.
As of this week, more than 2,700 people in the area covered by Peak Edge PCN have been vaccinated since January 9. A new supply of the AstraZeneca vaccine means that they can provide it to housebound patients in the next few days.
Dr Gore said: “Most of the over-80s in the city have now had their first vaccine and I know that we have done all the care home residents and staff. This means that these at risk groups are considerably safer than they were.
"It is now a case of mopping up the rest of the over 80s and then moving on to the 75-80s and then the over 70s.
“Between October and December GP surgeries in Sheffield vaccinated 80 per cent of the over 60s with the flu vaccine. This shows that we are used to vaccinating people and we can do it very efficiently.
"If we have the supply of the vaccine, we will be able to vaccinate people even faster than we are doing at the moment.”
Dr Gore was also keen to reassure the public that the vaccine is safe.
He said: "There is a lot of concern caused by scare stories and anti-vaxxers on the internet. There are certain groups who have misgivings and ideas about the vaccines that are not true.
"It is very important to get the message out there that this vaccine has gone through all the same safety regulations as any other vaccine.
“The vaccine contains absolutely no animal product. It has also not been in contact with any alcohol.
"NHS and social care staff all around the city are getting the vaccine. The fact that nearly 100 per cent of staff have had the vaccine should reassure the public.”
Dr Gore also explained how the vaccine was approved quickly.
“A lot of governments put a lot of money behind the companies developing it. This enabled them to crack on with the science at the beginning,” he said.
“The Government had also underwritten the manufacturing of the vaccines, so this could start while the testing was ongoing. Obviously if the tests proved it was unsafe, what was made would have had to be destroyed.”
Dr Gore said that this reduced financial risk to developers meant that the science and the manufacturing - which would normally take place sequentially - were able to take place concurrently.
He added: “When the vaccine came out the plan was to give people one dose and then they would get their second dose three weeks later. The second dose would give people extra protection and make the immunity last longer.
"What we have learned from other vaccines is that the window for giving the second dose is larger so we are pushing that back to twelve weeks and concentrating on giving as many people as possible the first dose.
"It is more important to get the first dose as it offers protection against the serious cases of Covid and reduces ICU admissions and deaths.”