Somerset vaccinations – how is it going

Over the weekend we published the news of new vaccination centres opening. There is now one in each of the 13 Primary Care Networks in Somerset. In addition vaccinations are being organised in Yeovil and Taunton hospitals. We have also been told that a new “super sized” vaccination centre is to be opened at Taunton racecourse. One of a range of super centres around the country in unlikely places that also include Salisbury Cathedral. The Taunton Racecourse vaccination centre will start operating on Monday (18 January).

So far so good. Everything seems to be in place. But anecdotally we still hear of 90+ year olds not being called when some 70 somethings are. In most cases the Pfizer jab is being administered as one jab only, as per central government advice. But in some cases two jabs have been given. We would like some reassurance that these are simply outliers, anomalies.

What the CCG and Public Health body will not tell us, is how is it going? Nobody wants to get under the feet of people getting on with the vaccination program. However this is data that is held.

It could not be otherwise. The CCG know precisely how many vaccine doses they have been given. They know how many patients they have vaccinated. And they will know when they will need to order new vaccine stocks. They could not run the current program without knowing this.

And both the CCG and Somerset County Council still have staff putting out regular press releases. Obviously these are things they want us to tell you about. But they are there to answer questions too.

So given that the resource is there and the data is there…. why can we not be told? Are the priority groups getting vaccinate din Somerset at the same rate as in the rest of the country. Are we getting the vaccine stocks we need. What percentage of patients in each priority group have been covered.

When you ask the County Council Public Health team, the response is ask the CCG. When you ask the CCG they tell you to look at the NHS website. This contains national figures with no local breakdowns. No-one is saying we don’t have the data. What they are trying to say is we can’t have it – until central government says.

But the Prime Minister has already decreed that this information should be published weekly. You can only hope that the chaos around revealing the figures is not indicative of chaos in the vaccination process.

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