'We're on track' - health chief allays fears over Covid vaccine supply

Dr Anoop Dhesi, chairman of Norfolk and Waveney CCG, says the coronavirus vaccine rollout in "on track"

Dr Anoop Dhesi, chairman of Norfolk and Waveney CCG, says the coronavirus vaccine rollout in "on track" - Credit: Ian Burt/Norfolk and Waveney CCG

Rollout of the coronavirus vaccine in Norfolk and Waveney is "very much on track", say health bosses, despite concerns over an expected decline in supply.

Dr Anoop Dhesi, chairman of the area's clinical commissioning group (CCG), has called progress thus far "tremendous". 

A large-scale Covid vaccination centre has opened in Harleston

A Covid jab is administered at the large-scale centre in Harleston - Credit: Sonya Duncan

On Wednesday, NHS England wrote to local health organisations warning of a "significant reduction" in the weekly supply of jabs next month. 

It is understood a delay in the arrival of five million Oxford/AstraZeneca doses from India is partially to blame. 

Dr Dhesi, however, says those due to receive vaccines in the coming months need not be alarmed. 

North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group chairman Anoop Dhesi. Picture: NN CCG

Dr Anoop Dhesi, chairman of Norfolk and Waveney CCG - Credit: Archant

"The news has been about future vaccines in April, where the amount of vaccine won’t be as large as we thought it was," he told BBC Radio Norfolk on Thursday morning. 

"The majority of vaccines we know the supply is stable, but it’s these extra vaccines that I understand were coming from India where there is concern.

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"Our focus in the coming two weeks or so is to finish off phase one and we are very much on track to have completed vaccinations for all over-50s, 16-65s with serious medical conditions and their carers."

The Castle Quarter Vaccination Centre in Norwich. Picture: Danielle Booden

The large-scale Covid vaccination centre at Castle Quarter in Norwich - Credit: Danielle Booden

Asked about the area's large-scale vaccination centres, of which there are now eight, Dr Dhesi said supply levels would be reflected by the number of available appointments. 

“Appointments at the large centres in Norfolk and Waveney are released in line with supply," he added. "Sites are opened up and put on standby as we know how much vaccine is coming in. 

“The situation now is that over-50s can use the national portal and they will be given appointments at the large sites.” 

Amid a forecast shortfall in most widely-used vaccine, it is hoped availability of the Moderna jab could help plug the gap. 

The product was approved for use in the UK in January, but supplies were not expected to arrive until spring. 

“The majority of vaccines given have been AstraZeneca in recent months, but the Moderna should become available later this month," said Dr Dhesi. "We are not sure what the amounts will be. 

Alan Muse, from Diss, receiving his COVID-19 vaccination at the new mass vaccination centre at Conna

A coronavirus jab is administered at Connaught Hall in Attleborough - Credit: Danielle Booden

"We are still going to have significant numbers of vaccines coming in because the second dose will kick in for large numbers of people from the end of this month.

"People who are expecting their second jab will get that."

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