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Woolpit Health Centre doctor calls for more to come forward in Pfizer-BioNTech roll out

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A Woolpit doctor who took to social media to urge under 40s to take up their Covid jabs has said there has been a surge in uptake but more people need to book due to the life span of the vaccine.

Dr Richard West, senior partner at Woolpit Health Centre, took to Facebook on Monday and appeared on radio and TV to try and get the message out about having the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccination.

However, after sending out 3,000 invitations it still took nearly a week and that media help to reach their target to avoid any vaccinations going to waste.

The doctor at the Heath Road surgery, said: "Because we are using Pfizer, we get a notification about a week to 10 days before to say when it will arrive in the building and once it arrives we have only got about three days to use it - 120 hours from when it comes out of the deep freeze, but that includes transport time.

"This means we have a very limited time to do our 1,170 appointments, so we are not very good at making it convenient because we can't not due to the logistics and it is very short notice just because that is all the time we are given too."

The surgery has vaccinated around 98 per cent of its over 80s and Dr West would like to get to that level in the younger ages too, as it is only at around 40 percent at the moment and they are more likely to have asymptomatic and milder versions of Covid making them 'ideal vectors' to continue to spread it.

Woolpit Health Centre. Picture by Mark Westley.
Woolpit Health Centre. Picture by Mark Westley.

He said: "We will not waste a dose now because we have done all the work to get enough people in but this ongoing problem is due to a combination of things.

"We have moved away from when we first did it during lockdown, where we would be full within 40 minutes and most people were sitting at home, people are now starting to move around, going to jobs and things so it is not as easy.

"Also the younger age groups, where the disease in those compared to older and elderly ones is not as severe are not prioritising it as much."

Referring to the difficulties and disruption facing the likes of Bolton and Blackburn, where there have been surges in outbreaks, Dr West said this should give the under 40s and everyone else who has not taken up the opportunity even more reason to have the jab.

He said: "If we do not get vaccinated then we will have more outbreaks, deaths and disability as things like long Covid can happen in the young and the old and really is a disabling condition.

"If we got to 98 per cent across the board then we could get back to normality much quicker, and everybody could get on, so it is really important to get it done."

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