Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill reassures 'anxious' elderly residents waiting to hear about coronavirus jab
An MP has stepped in to reassure ‘anxious’ elderly residents waiting to hear about the coronavirus jab following concerns about the supply of the vaccine to Suffolk.
Jo Churchill, Bury St Edmunds MP, said she knew some constituents over the age of 80 were yet to receive or be invited for the Covid-19 vaccine – after the roll-out was extended to those in their 70s this week.
Suffolk News has also been contacted with concerns about people in the priority group missing out and figures published on Wednesday show the East of England is the second lowest in the country for immunisation delivery with 441,299 receiving their first dose, compared to 764,557 in the Midlands.
Bob Jones, of Bury St Edmunds, said the ‘rapid vaccine roll-out nationally seems to have passed West Suffolk by’ and vaccination of the over 80s was ‘lagging well behind whilst other places are already starting on the over 70s’.
Mrs Churchill, Minister for Public Health, Primary Care and Prevention, said: “I understand this will have caused anxiety to some of those yet to receive an invitation, but I want to reassure constituents that all over 80s should receive a vaccination by the 15th February.”
She said after concerns about the supply of the vaccine, she had spoken with Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi who ‘assured’ her Suffolk ‘would be getting a larger delivery of vaccinations over the coming weeks’.
In an interview with Suffolk News last Friday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “If you’re waiting we will get to you soon.”
A spokesman for the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group said those aged 80 and over yet to hear about their jab would be contacted but the primary care network sites had not yet received all the vaccine required.
“As long as we get the vaccine supplies, we’re confident we can meet the Government’s target,” he said, adding that in East Suffolk there were occasions when those aged 75 to 80 received their jab at sites which had vaccine left after some residents aged over 80 were unable to make their appointments.
He added there were 17 primary care network sites delivering the vaccine in Suffolk with six in the West including The Swan Surgery, in Bury St Edmunds, Woolpit Health Centre and The Jubilee Centre, in Mildenhall.
The Government is preparing mass vaccination sites with 11 in Suffolk, and the first, in Ipswich, should be mobilised this month.