Behind the scenes

Coronavirus: GPs surging forward with vaccine rollout forced to slow down

Doctors leading the way see deliveries diverted to allow other regions to catch up

Family doctors who are leading the Covid-19 vaccine race have been told to pause jabs to allow other parts of the country to catch up.

Deliveries to surgeries vaccinating hundreds of elderly people a day have been cancelled as tensions rise within government over the speed of the national rollout programme.

Although some GP surgeries have finished vaccinating over 80s and are ready to begin offering jabs to people over 70, they have been denied the supplies to do so by local NHS leaders. One senior doctor told The Telegraph that the government was “robbing Peter to pay Paul” by diverting jabs to the seven vaccination centres opened earlier this week.

A government source told the paper that the move is part of a deliberate attempt to spread out “limited supplies” of the vaccine and avoid a postcode lottery. Last night, the NHS said that GP surgeries would still recieve vaccine deliveries this week and next. 

Boris Johnson has been left frustrated by what he sees as “excessive bureaucracy and a lack of data” coming out of the health service’s vaccination campaign, leading to some “tough” exchanges with health bosses, the Financial Times reports.

Unnamed officials told the paper that the prime minister warned NHS England chief Simon Stevens that the military would be given a bigger role in the programme unless the rollout was sped up. However, Downing Street quickly moved to play down the dispute, telling Politico’s London Playbook that suggestions of a row between Johnson and Stevens are “completely untrue”.

The UK has so far administered 2.84 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to Oxford University tracking, meaning 4.9 per 100 people have so far received at least one jab.

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