Many local residents have been in touch with me recently about being unable to book a vaccination locally.
I understand there was some clarification on the local news last night, but I also wanted to give you an update.
There is some confusion about the fact that there are 2 strands to the vaccination programme. There is a national strand, which allows you to be called to book an appointment, yourself, online.
These appointments are generally for the national testing centres such as the Centre for Life. Over the last week I know from experience that it is been impossible to book a jab in Newcastle and the website is encouraging people to book in places like Darlington and Carlisle.
I have raised this with the Vaccines Minister. It is unacceptable in my view that enough vaccines are not reaching the North of Tyne area.
The second strand is local, and GP’s will contact you directly when you can book to get vaccinated in the borough. You can choose to wait for this to happen.
It is based on the Government’s push model, so the government tell the local administrators when the vaccine will be sent. Local organisers have no control over this.
I have again raised this with the Vaccines Minister.
North Tyneside in particular, did extremely well in the first wave of vaccination and led the way nationally.
The infrastructure and organisation is therefore clearly in place and working well but because of the push model, we are now getting near a situation where local testing centres are standing empty waiting for supplies.
We know that supplies of the vaccine are ‘lumpy’ not least because it is a natural product.
I have made the Minister aware of my concerns and I will do everything I can to ensure that we get enough supplies to keep the process moving locally.