Oxford vaccine will be a ‘game changer’ for general practice in the fight against COVID, says College

Responding to the announcement of the MHRA's approval of the second COVID vaccine, Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “It is fantastic that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine has been approved for use in the UK. This gives us another vital tool with which to protect patients against Covid-19 – and it will be a game changer for the rollout of the vaccination programme in primary care.

“It is the glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel that we desperately need to get us through this difficult winter and ultimately overcome the virus.

“GPs and our teams are already working incredibly hard delivering the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine to our most vulnerable patients in the community, overcoming huge logistical challenges in doing so. This vaccine will overcome many of those challenges as it is much more like other vaccines already delivered in general practice, making it easier for GPs, our teams, and other primary care professionals to store it appropriately, and ultimately vaccinate a greater number of patients, at a faster pace in the community.

“GPs and our teams have been preparing as much as we can for delivery of this vaccine - we now eagerly await further details on how it will be rolled out across general practice and primary care, including details about vaccine supply.

“Both the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine have now been through a rigorous approval process by the MHRA and are deemed both safe and effective. We would encourage patients, when invited to receive their vaccination, to come forward and have it – but please wait for your GP practice to contact you, or else it could overload the service.

“As well as playing a central role in the Covid-19 vaccination programme, GP teams are also delivering the expanded flu vaccination programme – so far, with excellent results - and the routine services and care our patients rely on us for. Winter pressures are not confined to hospitals and It is important that GPs have access to the necessary resources and support they need to manage this increased workload and continue delivering essential care to patients.”

Further information

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Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 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.