• GP practices in North East and Yorkshire to receive around 100,000 doses next week, down from about 200,000
  • Sources told main reason is region is vaccinating eligible population quicker than other parts of the country
  • “Given the demography, deprivation, and ethnicity in parts of the region, it’s not great”

The North East and Yorkshire region has been told its covid-19 vaccine supply via primary care will be halved next week, largely because it is ahead of other areas in vaccinating its eligible population, HSJ has learned.

The planned reduction in deliveries to the region also suggests national supply from manufacturers will remain heavily constrained next week, contrary to hopes it will ramp up substantially to allow more than two million doses to be given each week.

Well-placed sources said the North East and Yorkshire, one of seven English NHS regions, had been told there would be around 100,000 doses available next week for its centres run by GP practices, which make up the large majority of current vaccinations. This will be down from about 200,000 this week.

They have been told the main reason is that large parts of the North East and Yorkshire have vaccinated a greater percentage of their population than other regions, including very many of the over 80s, meaning they are more quickly moving on to groups under 80.

Sources said it was a major frustration in the area, especially in primary care, because they had set up the capacity to administer tens of thousands more than they would be able to.

One said: “It’s a sensible policy if you have limited vaccine supply, which is clearly the case [but], given the demography, deprivation, and ethnicity in parts of the region, it’s not great.”

It is not clear what supply will be available to hospital vaccination sites in the region — known as “hubs” — or to mass vaccination sites, next week, but the primary-care led sites make up the large majority of vaccines being given.

Data published a week indicated 46 per cent of over 80s had received a first dose, compared to 29 per cent in the East of England and 31 per cent in London. New data is due today.

Another senior NHS source in the region said that while it was getting less than hoped, it was now receiving more advanced notice of volumes, and expected to have enough to meet the target of offering slots to all the top four priority groups by mid February.

One GP in Northumberland yesterday tweeted: “Sadly no #CovidVaccine clinics next week (w/c 25th Jan) as no vaccine being supplied. We hope to be able to run clinics w/c 1st Feb.”

Responding to that GP, NHSE primary care director Nikki Kanani, said: “Congratulations - this means you’ve made great progress on your most vulnerable to covid/priority cohorts. We are making sure that this opportunity is afforded to all across the country at similar rates.”

An NHS England spokesman said: “Vaccine allocations have prioritised areas for supply depending on the number of unvaccinated people in priority cohorts. This ensures we reach those most at risk across the country as far as possible, following advice from the [Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation].”

HSJ analysis of NHSE vaccine data released last week showed around 46 per cent of over 80s in North East and Yorkshire had received at least one dose of the covid vaccine. By comparison, just 29 per cent and 31 per cent of over 80s in the East of England and London respectively had received at least one dose.