GPs ‘forced to bin leftover vaccines’ amid struggle to book exact number of Covid vaccine recipients

John Dunne
·2-min read
<p>Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer looks on as Melvin Allanson receives the first of two Covid-19 vaccination shots, during a visit to the vaccination centre at Robertson House, in Stevenage.</p> (AFP/Getty)

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer looks on as Melvin Allanson receives the first of two Covid-19 vaccination shots, during a visit to the vaccination centre at Robertson House, in Stevenage.

(AFP/Getty)

GPs are being forced to bin leftover vaccines rather than give patients second doses or use them on staff, according to reports.

Local NHS leaders are said to have issued the vaccine disposal instructions to doctors organising clinics.

The revelation comes as Pfizer said there would be a short delay to UK orders of its vaccine.

GPs are struggling to book the exact number of appointments to match the doses of the vaccine which needs to kept at -70c, which adds another layer of difficulty.

Dr Robert Morley, the director of professional support at the Birmingham Local Medical Committee said the instructions were being reported by doctors across the country.

He told the Telegraph: '"This is ridiculous, bordering on the criminal, to actually be wasting vaccines when you have the worst global healthcare crisis for a century.

“The logical thing to do would be to use [the leftovers] as a second dose for healthcare workers, for example, who may be there in the building.”

The British Medical Association described the reports as 'extremely concerning, absolutely unacceptable and morally wrong', warning any wasted dose denies someone the chance to be protected from the virus, and, perhaps ultimately, death.

However, Britain is leading the way in Europe with 3.3 million people - one in 20 - already vaccinated, while there are also plans to roll out jabs to those in their 70s - third and fourth on the priority list behind those aged over 80, care home residents and frontline health and social care workers - as early as next week..

The NHS said there was 'no reason' why stocks should be wasted, insisting vaccination sites should make sure a back-up list of patients and staff who can get the jab at short-notice if people do not turn up are created.

The crisis in hospitals is deepening as medics prepare extra wards and critical care beds over the coming weeks.

While infection numbers are finally beginning to drop, the number of hospitalisations could rise in the next fortnight due to how long it can take people to become seriously ill, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty has warned.

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