East Antrim Covid vaccine shortages raised with minister

A number of east Antrim GP practices will be unable to conduct Covid clinics after being informed they will not be receiving vaccine deliveries this week.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 5:28 pm

DUP MLA David Hilditch has been liaising with surgeries impacted and has raised the matter with the Health Minister, Robin Swann MLA.

Mr Hilditch said: “On Tuesday my office was contacted by a local GP surgery who had been told they would not be receiving any supplies of Covid-19 vaccines this week. Since then we have been speaking with a number of local surgeries across Carrickfergus, Larne, Greenisland and Newtownabbey and the vast majority have been told the same.

“This is obviously a very worrying development as, not only are we continuing to vaccine further age groups, but tens of thousands of local people will be due their second dose of the vaccine in the coming weeks.

Covid vaccine. Pic by Press Eye.

“As soon as I learned of the news, my office submitted urgent questions to the Minister of Health to ascertain why there is a shortage and when it will be resolved.

“My office will continue to liaise with local surgeries to get answers and resolve this issue.”

Surgeries have been providing updates about the issue on their websites, including the Carrickfergus-based Scotch Quarter Practice, which stated: “The practice have been informed this morning (Wednesday) that we have been allocated 0 vaccines this week which means that following the clinics on Friday, March 5 there will be no further clinics until we are allocated a supply of vaccines.

“It appears that other local practices have not been allocated any further vaccines either. We intend to raise this matter with local MLAs and the Health Minister.”

This echoed a message yesterday (Tuesday) by Meadowbridge Surgery in Whitehead, which read: “We have just been advised that we will be receiving ‘0’ Covid vaccines delivery this week. Other local practices have received the same information. Unfortunately this means we are unable to run any further Covid Clinics until stock is made available again.”

And it was a similar experience at the Old School Surgery Greenisland. It stated: “We have just been advised that we will be receiving no covid vaccines this week. Other practices in the locality have received the same information.

“Unfortunately this means we are unable to run any further Covid Clinics until stock is made available again. We are extremely frustrated with the lack of vaccines supplied to General Practice. However, this is beyond our control and we have raised our concerns with the Board. We will contact eligible patients when further supplies are received.”

The Department of Health has been asked for a response.

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Click here to read: You can donate the cost of your Covid vaccine to help people in low income countries get one - here’s how

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