At least one GP network has pulled out of providing the COVID-19 vaccine because it is unable to support new safety guidance that has been issued.
The Medical Health Regulations Agency (MHRA) now requires vaccine recipients to be monitored for 15 minutes after receiving the jab. This had been brought in after two NHS workers had an allergic reaction to the jab after receiving it.
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GPs within the North East Derbyshire Primary Care Network (PCN) opted out of the second wave of the vaccine rollout, due to lack of resources.
Speaking to the doctor publication Pulse Today, PCN clinical director Dr Steve Rossi said: “The long and short of it was that even though there are lots of other questions with regards to how the whole thing’s going to work with call and recall, and booking, and the input from the CCG, the thing that really has been the nail in the coffin, certainly in the short term, is this 15-minute observation.”
He admitted the news was “disappointing” and insisted that the network was committed to providing the vaccination “as locally as possible” for its patients.
Dr Rossi said as a soon as a solution was sought that all its GP surgeries would be “ready to stand up as soon as it is feasible”.
Networks in Kent are also considering whether it is feasible to support the programme.
Kent’s Local Medical Committee (LMC) Medical Director Dr John Allingham said the MHRA’s new rules on monitoring patients means surgeries will be forced to “slow down their clinics dramatically”.
Also speaking to Pulse, he said: “What I know already is that there are a number of practices who are having to completely rethink their plans.”
The Royal College of GPs has acknowledged that primary care doctors are facing a huge challenge.
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Chair of the organisation, Professor Martin Marshall, said: “It is going to be an enormous challenge, given the workload and workforce challenges GPs and our teams are currently working under.
“Given these challenges, we understand why some practices have felt like they cannot sign up. But there has been an excellent response from the large number of practices able and wanting to be involved.”