'Appalling' lack of vaccine hub in North Norfolk slammed

Sarah Butikofer, leader of NNDC. Pictures: David Bale

Sarah Butikofer, leader of NNDC. Picture: Archant Library - Credit: Archant

The lack of a Covid-19 vaccination hub in the North Norfolk constituency has been branded "appalling" by a council leader.

Sarah Bütikofer, leader of North Norfolk District Council, said it was unacceptable that North Norfolk was the only constituency in the county outside Norwich that did not have a surgery administering the vaccine, even though it had the oldest average age in the country.

It follows the closure on Monday of Cromer Hospital's minor injuries unit so that staff could be redeployed to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).

Mrs Bütikofer said: "It's absolutely appalling that this government says its priority is vaccinating older people first, but there is not yet one vaccination centre in operation in the constituency.

"They've shut our minor injuries unit and I understand why they've had to it - the NHS needs all our support right now. But at the same time the needs and requirements of the people of North Norfolk are always going to be my primary concern and now it looks like they're having their essential services taken away."

Mrs Bütikofer said she understood there were no plans to open a vaccination hub in North Norfolk until next week.

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker said he expected the Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group would shortly give more details of the vaccine rollout.

Duncan Baker, north Norfolk district councillor and the Conservative's prospective parliamentary can

North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker has been appointed small business ambassador for the East of England. Picture: Stuart Anderson - Credit: Stuart Anderson

Mr Baker said: "I expect any day the CCG to publish information on how my constituency will be vaccinated."

Mr Baker said he had been "pressing everybody involved in this decision-making process" from [deputy chief medical officer] Jonathan Van-Tam to health secretary Matt Hancock. 

He added: "When the original Pfizer vaccine was deployed, Norfolk had two hospitals out of 50 involved so actually we had quite a decent supply." 

MORE: Which GP surgeries in Norfolk are already giving out the Covid vaccine?

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Nine GP surgeries in Norfolk and Waveney are now administering the coronavirus vaccine, but the closest ones to North Norfolk are in Fakenham and Norwich.

Patient Derek Howell is pictured receiving his vaccination from Joanna Horne, nurse manager at Humbleyard Practice.

A patient receiving a coronavirus vaccination at Cringleford Surgery. As yet, no vaccination stations have opened in the North Norfolk constituency.  - Credit: Norfolk and Waveney NHS

A spokesperson for Norfolk and Waveney CCG said: "We have well established plans in place to continue the rollout of the vaccine over the coming weeks and months.

"There are already a number of vaccination sites in Norfolk and Waveney with more being introduced in the coming days and weeks, including sites in North Norfolk.”

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