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Vaccinating patients against Covid will be a mammoth task for GPs like me | Zara Aziz

GP practices in England have been told to be ready for 1 December, but little else. The government must work with us on a planned rollout

The news that we may have a usable Covid vaccine within weeks was released – like a lot of other government communications during this pandemic – before it was sent to GPs. So when lots of my patients inquired about it, I had no further information to give. The thought of potentially one or more effective vaccines made me cautiously hopeful that we may have an end in sight to this painful and tragic chapter of our lives. It will be groundbreaking if we can make it work.

Indeed, vaccinating the 25,000 patients (if everyone was to be inoculated) at my surgery will be a mammoth undertaking, with capacity issues both for staffing and space. NHS England has not told us to cut down any other work that primary care is currently required to do, or that we’ll be redeployed to mass vaccination centres, although yet again their public announcements suggest otherwise. To keep providing existing primary care while also undertaking the biggest inoculation programme in decades and not allow vaccines to go to waste means we would have to run our surgery from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. The Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at -80C and once defrosted and prepared, it has to be used within 48 hours. The surgery is already open 8am-6.30pm Monday to Friday, with some weekend and evening surgeries.

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Read the original article at The Guardian

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