Trusts in Midlands 'to start rolling out 24/7 Covid vaccines TOMORROW'

Two NHS trusts in the Midlands ‘will start rolling out 24/7 Covid vaccines from TOMORROW’ as pressure mounts on No10 to ramp up scheme following three-day dip in jab uptake

  • University Hospitals of Birmingham and Sherwood Forest Hospitals selected
  • They are expected to launch their 24/7 vaccination hubs as early as tomorrow
  • Scheme’s launch marks another U-turn from the Government in the pandemic
  • Boris Johnson had claimed there was ‘no clamour’ for appointments after 8pm 

Two NHS trusts in the Midlands will start delivering coronavirus vaccines round-the-clock from Thursday, it was claimed today

University Hospitals Birmingham and Sherwood Forest Hospitals in Nottinghamshire have been chosen to pilot the 24/7 method to see if it could work on a national level, the Health Services Journal reports.

It’s not clear which of the trusts’ seven major hospitals will be trialling the scheme, but they will focus on the same priority groups as existing vaccine hubs.

These will include the over-80s, health and social care staff, over-70s and vulnerable patients already in hospital for other serious conditions.

No10 has been under pressure to deliver vaccines day and night but Boris Johnson has expressed doubts over whether there is enough clamour for nighttime jabs.

There are also questions about whether the Government is capable of running a 24/7 service given that it is grappling with supply and staff shortages. And there are already early signs the current 12-hour programme can’t keep pace after vaccine uptake dipped for the third day in a row. 

Just 204,000 people were given their first dose on Monday, down from 225,000 on Sunday, 277,000 on Saturday and a high of 324,000 on Friday. 

In order to meet its 14million target by the middle of next month, the scheme must average more than 350,000 doses every day from now until February 15. 

University Hospitals of Birmingham Trust, which includes the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, has been chosen to trial the 24/7 vaccination clinics, it has been suggested

Sherwood Forest Hospitals, in Nottinghamshire, will also reportedly be running the 24/7 centres. Pictured is King’s Mill Hospital near Mansfield which is run by the trust

Just 204,000 people were given their first dose on Monday, down from 225,000 on Sunday, 277,000 on Saturday and a high of 324,000 on Friday

It comes amid allegations of a jabs ‘postcode lottery’ with some areas vaccinating the ‘vast majority’ of their over-80s while others trail behind 

University Hospitals Birmingham runs Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, Solihull Hospital and Community Services, Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham Chest Clinic. 

Sherwood Forest Hospitals covers three hospitals in Nottinghamshire – King’s Mill Hospital, Newark Hospital and Mansfield Community Hospital. 

Pressure grows on No10 to speed up Covid vaccine rollout to care homes after fatalities DOUBLE in a fortnight 

Boris Johnson is under mounting pressure to speed up the Covid vaccine rollout to care homes, after damning official figures showed care homes were once again at the heart of Britain’s crisis. 

Some 1,260 care home residents died from Covid in England last week, almost twice the 661 fatalities recorded in the last week of 2020. The virus is now responsible for a startling 40 per cent of all deaths in care homes.

Liz Kendall, Labour’s shadow social care minister, warned the UK is ‘in a race against time to vaccinate residents and staff’ to stop the disease from ripping through the sector. She said: ‘The Government must leave no stone unturned to deliver on its promise to complete care home vaccinations by this Sunday in every part of the country.’      

Experts say there is ‘always a risk’ of the virus getting into homes via care staff if the disease is spreading at high levels in the community even if workers are being regularly tested. There have been concerns over the accuracy of the rapid tests being used in care homes. 

There are also questions over whether the spike in cases and deaths is linked to the Government’s controversial policy to send Covid patients discharged from hospitals back into care homes. Under the scheme, designed to free up hospital beds and protect the NHS, care homes which passed inspection and were deemed Covid-secure were once again asked to house infected patients.

MailOnline has contacted both trusts for a statement on the plans, and whether they will switch to a round the clock service from tomorrow. 

It comes amid concern over whether Britain has enough doses of the vaccine to run the 24/7 centres.  

The Government has refused to give details of what stocks it has saying it would be a security risk. 

Pfizer’s supplies have been dented by a factory upgrade which will continue into next month.

Officials say there are ‘a lot of moving parts’ contributing to the slowdown, with ‘intermittent’ deliveries of supplies, as well as difficulties contacting the remaining over-80s and covering care homes among the factors. However, there are hopes in Whitehall that today’s numbers will go up again.

MPs have also voiced frustration at the way supplies have been divvied out across the UK. In London the allocation is believed to have been based on take up of last season’s flu vaccine, which was relatively low.

Meanwhile, there are complaints that the system is descending into a ‘free for all’ with council staff being given jabs before 70-somethings in some areas.

The chaos has fuelled fears that lockdown measures will have to last longer, with suggestions that the earliest timetable for a significant easing has slipped ‘beyond Easter’. Sir Patrick Vallance cautioned this morning that infection numbers are ‘nowhere near where they need to be’ to consider loosening measures.

In a round of interviews, the Home Secretary Priti Patel was asked why the slowdown in doses was happening. ‘There remains a long and difficult road ahead… this is the largest mass vaccination programme our country has ever seen,’ she told BBC Radio 4’s Today.

‘But also we are now seeing the suppliers Pfizer and AZ – the suppliers of the vaccine are upgrading their factories changing their supply chains.

‘Of course that will inevitably have an implication in terms of the actual supply of the vaccine.

‘We will see reconfiguarion of the supply chain. I think that is inevitable because of the demand domestically and internationally.’

Ms Patel said the local variations were down to ‘NHS structures’. ‘You are going to get the variability. There is not going to be a consistent rollout programme across the country. That will be for logistical reasons, geography reasons, where these vaccine centres are.’

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