Covid vaccinations paused at Leighton Buzzard Rugby Club, but will be ramped up when more supplies arrive next week

Covid vaccinations at Leighton Buzzard Rugby Club have stopped until the back end of next week as the town awaits further supplies of the vaccine.

Thursday, 28th January 2021, 5:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th January 2021, 5:25 pm

The centre – a jointly run service by all three general practices (Bassett Road Surgery, Leighton Road Surgery and Salisbury House Surgery) – was launched on Thursday, January 14, and since then has administered close on 5,000 jabs to the over 80s and care home staff and workers.

The centre has been running from 8am to 8pm for up to seven days per week and has been receiving supplies of both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca on a weekly basis.

However, on Wednesday evening (January 27), Leighton Buzzard PCN announced on social media that the operation would have to be paused as it awaits further vaccine supplies.

More vaccines are needed

It stated: "The PCN will be back next week vaccinating our patients. We have had a little break as we wait to be informed of the date of our next delivery.

"We are eager to continue to protect the patients of our great community. Your practice will be calling you as soon as we know of our delivery slot. Just be patient and we assure you that we will be in contact."

Dr John Henderson, director of the Leighton Buzzard Primary Care Network, also posted: "Just to let people know, we at the vaccination centre have absolutely no control over when or how much of the vaccine we receive.

"When, as we expect, we get more supplies next week we will be up and running again. Please bear with us. We are going as fast as we can!"

Vaccinations carried on despite the snow. Photo: Leighton Linslade Rotary Club

A spokesman for Leighton Buzzard PCN told the LBO this afternoon (Thursday) that they had been contacted about the next delivery and were expecting to be in a position to resume the rugby club operation next Friday (February 5).

He said that on a typical day just shy of 400 vaccinations had been administered, but that, upon resumption, on Friday and Saturday (February 5-6) the aim would be to nearly double that number to achieve 720 jabs on each day.

The spokesman said the next priority groups (patients aged 70+ and those deemed clinically vulnerable) were now being contacted as the vast majority of the over 80s, plus care home residents and staff had been vaccinated.

He said the wait would allow rugby club staff, who had been deep cleaning the premises every evening, to have a "bit of a breather", and also allow the PCN to review its processes and make any refinements.

He added: "One thing we have been staggered by is the community spirit. It's been absolutely phenomenal. We've had drinks and snacks from big businesses, and patients have brought us cards. For a lot of people it's the big relief that something is happening and there's light at the end of the tunnel. It's been very rewarding."

The Government has recently stated supplies of vaccines are "tight" but the UK believes it will receive enough doses to meet its targets of getting 15 million of the most vulnerable groups vaccinated by mid-February.

Today, Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said there "will be no interruption" to UK vaccine supplies, after the EU urged AstraZeneca to supply it with doses from UK plants. AstraZeneca has previously said it could deliver only a fraction of the doses between January and March that it had promised to the EU, blaming production issues at EU plants for a reported 50 million-dose shortfall.

South West Beds MP, Andrew Selous, who visited the rugby club last week, told the LBO: "My understanding is that both Leighton Buzzard and Dunstable are well advanced in vaccinating the first four priority groups which we are trying to get vaccinated across the country before February 15.

"We are limited in the amount of vaccine supply at the moment and it is important that every area of the country vaccinates all those who will accept a vaccine in the first four groups by mid February. I very strongly encourage everyone to have their vaccine when they are offered it. I have contacted the vaccines minister to see if we can get earlier supplies of vaccine and will continue to do everything I can to support the wonderful staff and volunteers at both vaccination centres.”