A drastic change on who should be prioritised for immunisation has become apparent following the authorisation of a Covid vaccine in the UK.
As the country prepares for a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic concerns have been raised that if the priority for vaccination is shifted from the NHS, hospitals could be “overwhelmed” at the beginning of the next year.
This came after a new immunisation strategy emerged last night which stated that care home residents and older patients will be vaccinated first before frontline staff.
The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said: “If we get a prolonged cold snap in January the NHS risks being overwhelmed. The Covid-19 restrictions should remain appropriately tough.
“Trust leaders are worried about the impact of looser regulations over Christmas.”
In an effort to curb the spread of the virus as families and friends meet this Christmas, the government came up with “a balanced and workable set of rules,” a government spokesperson said.
The joint committee on vaccination and immunisation (JCVI) published the new UK-wide guidance on priority groups amid uncertainty over when the rest of the 5m-strong initial batch of doses that the government ordered will reach the country.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, the leader of the British Medical Association supported the new immunisation strategy to prioritise care home residents first.
“Doctors and other healthcare staff will recognise the need to vaccinate care home residents and older patients first, but will likely be frustrated at the government’s inconsistent messaging changing from yesterday to today.
“In the first wave, we saw far too many health and social care workers become incredibly sick with Covid – with many tragically dying – and therefore those working on the frontline need to be given the opportunity to get protected early,” he said.