November 27, 2020

Preparations underway to deliver Covid vaccine in Shropshire –
Health organisations and local councils are making plans for the delivery of a Covid vaccine in the county
Health organisations and local councils are making plans for the delivery of a Covid vaccine in the county

Council and healthcare officials have confirmed they are in the process of planning how and where a vaccine will be delivered, as and when it is available.

GP surgeries and pharmacies in Shropshire and Mid Wales are expected to be used, but public buildings are also likely to be taken on in order to cope with the scale of the operation.

It is hoped the first vaccinations may come before Christmas, with healthcare workers and the vulnerable first on the list.

Simon Stevens, the chief executive of the NHS, said that GPs would be “geared up to start by Christmas if the vaccine becomes available”, although it is expected to be New Year before any large-scale vaccination is realistically ready for use.

There are a number of issues for local authorities to consider in relation to administering a vaccine, with some of those in development requiring storage at incredibly cold temperatures.

The overall delivery of a vaccine in the county will be overseen by the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, which today confirmed work is ongoing to ensure Shropshire is ready when it gets the go ahead.

A spokesman said: “As per Government guidance all health and care systems across the UK are making arrangements to be able to deliver a Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“While it isn’t yet certain when a Covid-19 vaccine will be available, we are working hard and busy preparing to ensure we are ready to offer it when it is.

“As clinical trials for a Covid-19 vaccine progress and we understand more about the requirements of the vaccine – such as storage, transportation, where and how it is administered – these plans will be finalised to ensure we have the right resources in place.

“The detailed planning builds on the expertise and track record we already have in delivering immunisation programmes including the flu vaccination programme.”

County GP Julian Povey, who is also Chair of NHS Telford & Wrekin and Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Groups, said they were working to make sure they are ready, but that the timescale had already shifted several times.

He said: “There are challenges about how it is delivered. It is something the CCG and the councils are spending time on but we have had dates that keep moving.

“We will be ready to go and ready to mobilise plans within the notice period we expect when we are given a definite date.”

He added: “It may start this side of New Year but we are expecting it to more likely be in the New Year.”