College response on roll-out of Covid booster

The College has issued the following statement, following the Government’s confirmation of the Covid ‘booster’ vaccine programme for over 50s and clinically vulnerable patients.

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs and a GP in East London, said: “The success of the Covid vaccination programme has been largely down to the hard work of GP teams - with the majority of vaccinations delivered in primary care - and it is crucial that patients continue to get as much protection as possible so that we can move from a pandemic to an endemic Covid situation.

"We appreciate the need for speed with the roll-out but appeal to patients to wait until they are called for the vaccine and not to contact their surgery. GPs themselves have only just had this news confirmed and need to accommodate arrangements around the existing needs of patients.

"General practice was already facing a really tough winter and GPs will need support to manage the additional challenges of the booster programme in addition to our existing and huge workload pressures. In tandem, we’ll also be running the largest-ever flu vaccination, with 36 million people entitled to a vaccine on the NHS, so it’s vital that GP teams are able to rely on sufficient flu vaccine supplies to keep everything running like clockwork.

"Today’s announcement shows that this pandemic is far from over and also demonstrates the urgent need for the Government to deliver on its pledges and get additional resource and support into general practice as quickly as possible. Patient care must be safe, and we need to prevent more GPs from burning out or having to leave the profession for the sake of their own health.”

Further information

(For media only)

RCGP Press office – 020 3188 7633/7494/7574
Out of hours: 020 3188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 53,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.