South Tyneside unfairly 'punished' amid claims North East's Covid vaccine supplies for GPs are set to be halved

South Tyneside MPs argue the region is being ‘punished’ for its successes in delivering the Covid-19 vaccines, as the North East is reportedly set to see its supply of the potentially life-saving jabs slashed in half.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 9:18 am

HSJ reported that the North East’s provisions were likely to go from approximately 200,000 doses this week to around 100,000 in a few days’ time.

The report added: “Sources said it was a major frustration in the area, especially in primary care, because they had set up the capacity to administer tens of thousands more than they would be able to.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Emma Lewell-Buck (right) and Kate Osborne both argued the region was being 'punished' for its successes up to this point in vaccine delivery

The decision to cut the North East and Yorkshire’s access to the jabs is understood to have been made in order to facilitate higher inoculation levels in other parts of the country that have up to now delivered the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines at a slower rate.

As of January 17, 618,761 people across the North East and Yorkshire had received a first dose of one of the two vaccines (320,690 under-80s and 298,071 over-80s).

This accounts for 67.1% of over-80s in the region – the highest rate in the country at present – getting their first dose.

An NHS England spokesperson said: “All available vaccine doses are being delivered to vaccination sites and every GP-led vaccination site is receiving a delivery this week.

"To ensure all of those people in the top priority groups can get vaccinated quickly, targeted deliveries are being made to areas where there are more people left to vaccinate in the priority cohorts.”

The MPs for South Tyneside argued the region was being unfairly ‘penalised’ as a result of the decision to restrict the region’s supply of the Covid vaccines.

“Another classic example of the Government going back on their word of levelling up,” the MP for South Shields, Emma Lewell-Buck, said.

"After some of the highest infection rates in the country the North East pulled together, our NHS Nurses, Doctors, GP Surgeries, and Hospitals delivered one of the best vaccination delivery programmes in the country, why now should we be punished for that?

"I will be raising this with the Government ASAP.”

Jarrow MP Kate Osborne echoed Mrs Lewell-Buck’s comments, arguing deprivation levels in the borough and the region more widely made the need for rapid delivery of the jabs across the North East all the more pressing.

She said: ”I would firstly like to thank health workers in the region who are leading the way in vaccinations.

"However, I do not believe areas should be punished for good performance and the vaccine should be supplied based on need.

"I am very concerned that this is a case of the North East being penalised again, when in fact the region – and in particular areas like South Tyneside and Gateshead – have higher levels of deprivation and a life expectancy which is lower than elsewhere in the country, and therefore it should be prioritised for Covid vaccine supply.

"I will be raising this with the relevant parties in due course.”

Read More

Read More
South Tyneside MPs demand answers over vaccines for hospital trust staff

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe