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"The public will be horrified": Newcastle's Liberal Democrats Opposition speak out over vaccine "levelling down" as region's allocation set to be halved next week

January 22, 2021 11:18 AM
Newcastle's Liberal Democrats Opposition leader Cllr Nick Cott has expressed strong disappointment at reports in the Health Service Journal that the North East and Yorkshire NHS region has been told that its covid-19 vaccine supplies will be halved next week because it is ahead of the rest of the country.
The HSJ reports "well placed sources" in the region have been told to expect around 100,000 vaccine doses next week for GP practices, down from 200,000 this week, attributing this to the region's strong performance on vaccinating the over 80s, which is running significantly ahead of other regions.
Cllr Cott said: "The public will be horrified that we are being forced to level down to allow other areas to catch up, given our region's long-standing health inequalities. Primary healthcare facilities have been doing an excellent job in putting in place capacity to vaccinate more older people than elsewhere in the country. Everyone in our region who is over 70 or who has older family members has been hoping that current good progress will continue and their letter will soon arrive, but instead the brakes are being applied by national decision-makers.
"People in Newcastle understand that it has been necessary for our region's hospitals and medics to help the national response to the pandemic and our region's NHS has responded magnificently to this. The Liberal Democrats Opposition believes they will find it less easy to understand why we are being forced to slow delivery of the vaccine and why the capacity put in place to deliver this will be under-used.
"The region's council leaders are eager to associate themselves with good news stories about the vaccine roll out, but they must now make a public statement about what they are doing to challenge the decision. I am particularly disappointed that there has not been open discussion of what appears to have been stated in private. In recent days, we have been made aware of "worries" about vaccine supply in coming weeks, but nothing more than that, and have been left to learn about the reality of the situation in the press and on social media."