Yorkshire is being “punished” for its successful coronavirus vaccine rollout, regional leaders have warned, after it emerged that doses could be diverted to places that have failed to vaccinate as many people.
‘Targeted deliveries’ to areas like London could mean that some GP practices in Yorkshire will see their supplies of vaccine halved, the Yorkshire Post reported.
The latest data indicates that a total of 67 per cent of people aged 80 and over have received one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine – the highest rate in England. A further 12 per cent had received two doses in the week to 17 January.
Leeds MP Fabian Hamilton told the YP: “Yorkshire should not be punished for its success in rolling out the vaccine quicker than other regions.
“The Health Secretary should have ensured parity in supply from the beginning of the vaccination programme.
“Since the first vaccine was approved, our wonderful doctors, nurses and pharmacists, bolstered by thousands of dedicated volunteers, have done an excellent job in protecting the most vulnerable from this virus and it would be shameful to slow them down now.”
Dr Richard Vautrey, a Leeds GP and British Medical Association GP committee chair, urged the Government to be “far more honest and transparent” vaccine supplies – and to provide justification about where they were being sent.
He said: “Of course we need widespread coverage across the country, but it’s incredibly frustrating for practices who have had such a high success rate so far, with lists of patients waiting, to have no certainty around future supplies – and even had planned supplies reduced – especially when they see mass vaccination centres continuing to be rolled out.”
Labour MP Jon Trickett said he understood to boost vaccination rates in London, but questioned why it should happen at Yorkshire’s expense.
“Why do we have to be held back? I don’t get it,” he said. “Once again, the north has excelled and once again the north is being punished for problems in the south,” he claimed.
“I don’t believe we’re that far ahead. There are patches within Yorkshire that will have fallen behind and this will mean they fall even further behind.”
Dan Jarvis, mayor of Sheffield, added: “Our NHS and Primary Care staff are working hard to protect and vaccinate our communities.
“They must not be punished for their success, otherwise people in Yorkshire will rightly feel this is deeply unfair.
“Ministers must pull out all the stops to ensure progress is not derailed and ensure all parts of the country have the resources and supply they need to vaccinate Britain.”
Speaking in the Commons yesterday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The challenge to supply is, essentially, that we have a lumpy supply.”
Asked directly about the situation in Yorkshire, he said: “We’ve got to make sure that vaccination is fair right across the UK and some parts of the country, including parts of the North East and Yorkshire, have gone really fast early on, which is terrific.
“And we do have to make sure the vaccination programme is there everywhere, so everyone in the top four groups can receive that offer of a vaccine by the 15th of February. We will deliver on that.“