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Older Britons may miss invites to Covid jabs because GPs have to TEXT them

Elderly Britons may miss appointments for their coronavirus vaccines because GPs send them invitations by text message, doctors fear.

Some over-80s who are next in line for the shot are contacted on their mobile phone because of the ‘short delivery time’. Dr. Ollie Hart, a primary care physician involved in the Sheffield rollout, said he feared it would cause many to miss their shots.

He said: ‘The difficulty for us was the short delivery time, which meant contacting most people via cell phones and by phone instead of sending letters and having a more phased and planned approach.

“So that meant if people haven’t been there or we haven’t been able to get them, sometimes we can miss people.” He urged people over 80 who are still waiting for their surgery to call them to make sure they hadn’t missed any calls or texts. ‘

The Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine poses few problems for surgery because it can be stored in standard refrigerators for months. But the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine – which was the first to be approved – must be used five days after it is thawed.

Dr. Hart said once supplies from the jab are usually only three and a half days left, leading to frantic calls to the priority groups to ensure supplies are not wasted. The NHS says most invitations are sent as letters, but GPs’ offices can invite their own patients by text message.

It comes after the health secretary promised yesterday to end the ‘postcode lottery’ for vaccinations by diverting supplies to areas furthest behind the UK’s biggest vaccination rollout, despite expanding the program to over 70s and adults with underlying conditions.

More than 4 million Britons have now had their first dose, but rates vary from country to country.

Diverting supplies will likely mean more jabs going to London and the east of England, both of which had vaccinated less than 30 percent of their over 80s by January 10, the last date for which data is available.

A minister warned today that there would be an ‘overlap’ between the last 80+ and the first 70+ to be vaccinated as the scheme must continue to ‘flow and move’ as it expands.

More than 4 million Britons have now had their first dose, but rates vary from country to country

More than 4 million Britons have now had their first dose, but rates vary from country to country

Matt Hancock revealed tonight that more than 4 million Brits have now had a coronavirus vaccine amid mounting claims that a 'postcode lottery' has left vulnerable people unprotected in certain areas

Matt Hancock revealed tonight that more than 4 million Brits have now had a coronavirus vaccine amid mounting claims that a 'postcode lottery' has left vulnerable people unprotected in certain areas

Matt Hancock revealed tonight that more than 4 million Brits have now had a coronavirus vaccine amid mounting claims that a ‘postcode lottery’ has left vulnerable people unprotected in certain areas

SHE IS 91, BUT MY MOTHER HAS NOT HEARD

June Rollings, 91, from Peterborough, fears she may have been forgotten during the rollout

June Rollings, 91, from Peterborough, fears she may have been forgotten during the rollout

June Rollings, 91, from Peterborough, fears she may have been forgotten during the rollout

June Rollings, 91, is starting to fear she’s been forgotten after not hearing about when she’ll be vaccinated.

The former shoe store employee, from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, has friends across the country who’ve had their injections, but her GP practice doesn’t seem to have any supplies.

Her daughter, Denise Burke, 64, is now frustrated to learn that people in their 70s will be vaccinated this week. Ms. Burke said: “I am a participant in the Novavax studies that I volunteered for because I wanted to do my part to get our most vulnerable vaccinated.

‘It feels very ironic now that it is my mother who was left without a vaccine.

‘I looked at the vaccination rates in Peterborough and they are embarrassingly low. My mom is starting to get pretty anxious and the worst part is I can’t explain to her what’s going on because I don’t know myself. ‘

Dr. Hart urged those over 80 who are still waiting for an invitation to a vaccination appointment to contact their surgeries to make sure they haven’t been missed.

“I think if people are over 80 it is probably reasonable to let us know you’ve been missed,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.

‘Because we might not have your mobile number or we might not be able to reach you by text message.

“But of course we don’t want to be completely inundated with people in younger age groups calling to say when I’m going to get my vaccine.”

Dozens of retirees, including a 98-year-old radiographer from a World War II hospital, do not yet have an appointment for the vaccine, despite the scheme already being extended to people over 70, the Daily Mail revealed today.

Ruth Wide, 98, is one of those who have yet to hear from her primary care practice in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, about receiving the potentially life-saving injection.

Her son Marcus, 72, fears she has been overlooked, but has followed advice not to contact the practice directly. He said, “There’s no way to check if someone tried to call but didn’t get through.”

June Rollings, 91, is starting to fear she’s been forgotten after not hearing about when she’ll be vaccinated.

The former shoe store employee, from Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, has friends across the country who’ve had their injections, but her GP practice doesn’t seem to have any supplies.

Dozens of others have also contacted the newspaper to express concerns about not receiving an appointment.

Government ministers have repeatedly assured people over 80 that they will be contacted for vaccinations against Covid-19. But there are mounting fears that some may have overlooked.

Dr. Zoe Norris, a general practitioner from East Yorkshire, warned today that it takes a ‘tremendous’ amount of time to contact patients to make appointments, leaving surgeries with deliveries of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, worried they won’t could fill all appointments.

“ What we did is we initially call our patients who are in the first few groups, so you can imagine it takes a huge amount of time, you’re talking about at least 1,000 patients for one batch of vaccine, ” she said against the BBC. Breakfast.

“So by calling those patients and making sure they know where to go, they have people to take them down when they’re old and vulnerable.”

The health secretary told a press conference in Downing Street last night that stocks of the vaccine would be diverted to areas lagging behind in the rollout.

“We are prioritizing the delivery of the vaccine in those parts of the country that the over-80s need to complete,” he said.

He revealed that more than 4 million people in the UK have now received their first dose, including more than half of people over 80 and nursing home residents.

Some places have already vaccinated almost all of their over 80s. Pictured above is a patient who received the vaccine yesterday at the Bournemouth International Center

Some places have already vaccinated almost all of their over 80s. Pictured above is a patient who received the vaccine yesterday at the Bournemouth International Center

Some places have already vaccinated almost all of their over 80s. Pictured above is a patient who received the vaccine yesterday at the Bournemouth International Center

HEALTH SECRETARY MATT HANCOCK TO INSULATE YOURSELF

Secretary of Health Matt Hancock

Secretary of Health Matt Hancock

Secretary of Health Matt Hancock

Matt Hancock has gone into self-isolation after being ‘pinged’ by the NHS app, he revealed today.

The health secretary said he will stay home until Sunday after receiving the report.

Mr Hancock should have isolated Covid last year, but even those previously infected.

In a video posted to Twitter from his home, Mr. Hancock said: ‘Last night I was pinged by the NHS coronavirus app, so that means isolating myself from home and not leaving the house until Sunday.

This self-isolation is arguably the most important part of all social distancing, because I know from the app that I’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive and that’s how we break the transmission chains.

So you have to follow these rules like I’m going to do. I have to work from home for the next six days, and together, by doing this, by following this, and all the other arsenal of rules we had to put in place, we can get through this and defeat this virus. ‘

But Dr. David Holwell, a GP in West Sussex, condemned the move as ‘disappointing’ for areas that had worked hard to quickly vaccinate elderly Britons.

“We did an average of about 2,000 vaccines a week, last week we got 300 and this week we get 800, so it’s disappointing,” he told BBC Breakfast.

“We just want to keep vaccinating, we’ve reached a good point, we’ve definitely started eating patients under the 80s. But we’re limited by the vaccine supply. ‘

Despite having received an initial dose of the vaccine, it can take up to three weeks for it to activate immunity to the virus.

Scientists have urged those already vaccinated to follow all restrictions due to the delay in immunity and the need to get a second dose.

Northern Ireland Minister Brandon Lewis said today there would be ‘some overlap’ between vaccinating the last 80 over and the lower priority of the over 70 in some areas.

He told LBC, ‘We are very clear that areas must go through the majority of the first cohort before moving on to the second cohort, but there will be an overlap.

The reality is, if you go through this, when you start bringing in the second cohort, there will be a bit of an overlap.

So while they’re still finishing, some people from the second cohort are getting their vaccinations and being contacted.

‘That is understandable, because the other alternative is to go through cohort one and pause before you can bring in cohort two and that would be wrong.’

He added, “To keep things flowing and moving we will see some overlap, but areas should go through the majority of cohort one before moving into cohort two.”

The vaccine program was called into question yesterday by fellow minister Therese Coffey, who said that “something wasn’t right” that younger patients got injections before the more elderly.

She said she has been contacted by people complaining that people over 70 seem to have been invited in front of some over 80s and even over 90s.

Yesterday, she said in a social media post: “ Something is not quite working yet, especially in part of the constituency, as I hear from people that people over 80 and 90 have not been contacted while over 70 patients the same general practice were invited for vaccination.

“I know it’s both troubling and annoying when people hear that other lower priority cohorts are getting vaccinated earlier than our oldest and most vulnerable.”

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