Sheffield MP demands answers over Covid-19 vaccine shortage

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A Sheffield MP has asked the Government to explain the Covid-19 vaccine shortage which is affecting the city.

Sheffield South East Labour MP, Clive Betts said the city should be getting more vaccine doses in the week ahead to meet the target of vaccinating the top four cohorts on the priority list.

But instead he told how it is getting significantly fewer as doses are diverted to other parts of the country where fewer jabs have been administered.

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Mr Betts said Sheffield had received around 12,000 doses of vaccine this week yet next week the city was only set to get some 9,000 doses to administer.

Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts. Picture by Chris EtchellsSheffield South East MP Clive Betts. Picture by Chris Etchells
Sheffield South East MP Clive Betts. Picture by Chris Etchells

He told BBC Radio Sheffield: "It should be up every week now to get more people vaccinated.

"I don't know where the delay is - from the manufacturing process until its approval and transported down to the individual GP, at what point is there a delay?

"Every bit of delay is somebody's life and we have to think about it."

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Mr Betts was speaking after a report revealed how one GP practice in Sheffield was due to receive just 400 doses next week, despite having the capacity to deliver 700 jabs a day.

He also agreed with Dr Ollie Hart, director of the Heeley-Plus Primary Care Network, who said there is currently no need to open a new mass vaccination centre at Sheffield's FlyDSA Arena.

"Why are we thinking about opening the arena when the GPs are going to do a lot more with the vaccines?" he asked.

He however said the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation was not to be blamed for agreeing to open the centre as they were "acting on the instructions" by the NHS England.

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"It is not their decision because the mass vaccine rollout is governed by the NHS at the national level. They have been doing brilliantly well at the local level.

"What we have got here is a PR exercise because there's not enough vaccine going into people's arms,” he said,

He added that the arena could be used in the future when the vaccination rollout has benefited everyone on the priority list.

"In the future, it may be needed but it is not needed immediately,” he added.

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.