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GPs offered £10 for each care home resident given COVID jab

Written by on 31 December 2020

GPs in England are being offered GBP10 for every care home resident they vaccinate against COVID-19 by the end of January, the NHS has said.

The move is part of an “accelerated drive to protect the most vulnerable”, after regulators approved the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab in the UK on Wednesday.

On 2 December, the country became the first in the world to give the Pfizer/BioNTech inoculation the green light.

Image:
Margaret Keenan was the first person in the world to receive Pfizer’s jab outside of a trial

Margaret Keenan, 91, made history by becoming the world’s first patient to receive it outside a clinical trial on 8 December and the grandmother received her second dose on 29 December.

Latest figures show that 786,000 people received a jab between 8 December and 27 December.

Around two-thirds, some 524,439, were delivered to people aged 80 and above, equalling around one in five people in that age group.

In a statement on its website, the NHS said its vaccination programme – “the biggest in health service history” – is being expanded after the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab was approved, and that frontline staff will also now be prioritised.

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As additional supplies become available, doctors, nurses and other medical workers will also be given the injection.

Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and NHS medical director for primary care, said: “Three-quarters of a million people have now received the Pfizer vaccine thanks to the tireless efforts of NHS staff who have given up time with their families over Christmas to deliver vaccines at the same times as treating record numbers of seriously-ill patients with COVID-19.

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“As we head into the New Year with a second vaccine that is also more versatile, we will be able to expand the programme and ensure that the majority of care home residents are protected within the next four weeks or so.

“It is also great news that we will be able to begin vaccinating NHS staff serving on the frontline to protect them against coronavirus.”

Because the Pfizer vaccine has to be kept at -70 degrees (-94F) until it is ready to be used, and it can only be moved a limited number of times, it makes it difficult to get into care homes.

But the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab can be kept at fridge temperature and transported more easily.

A first dose gives around 70% effectiveness from three weeks after immunisation, according to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI)

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Data showed the vaccine was then up to 80% effective when the second dose was given three months after the first.

The majority of care home residents are expected to have the jab by the end of January, and all those who have not had it are expected to have an appointment by then.

The government has said that the second Oxford dosage will be given later than originally planned in order to give as many people as possible the coverage of the first vaccine.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said allowing a second dose up to 12 weeks later was “important because it means that we can get the first dose into more people more quickly and they can get the protection the first dose gives you.”