Covid-19 vaccine rollout praise for GPs and teams

The College has responded to a report by the National Audit Office on the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in England. The report notes how GP and community pharmacist teams have administered many more doses than originally planned – 71% up to the end of October 2021, compared with a planned 56%. It also highlights that those interviewed for the report highlighted the ‘goodwill, flexibility, and dedication’ that had been required to set up and run vaccination sites at such pace and scale.

Dr Gary Howsam, Vice Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and their teams, working with colleagues across the health service, have pulled out all the stops to ensure as many people as possible are protected from Covid-19, and it’s good to see this being recognised by the National Audit Office (NAO) in today’s report.

“The vaccine rollout was the biggest and most complex vaccination programme in UK history. It also ran alongside two expanded flu vaccination programmes. Its success has in a large part been down to the experience, hard work and dedication of GP teams, delivering vaccinations at a local level, with the majority of vaccinations delivered in primary care.

“It’s a fantastic achievement that so many people have been vaccinated, with uptake exceeding initial planning assumptions – and this report does not take into account the booster programme, which has now seen more than 38m patients fully protected from the virus. It remains crucial that patients continue to get as much protection as possible so that we can move from a pandemic to an endemic Covid situation and GP teams will remain key to this effort.

“With that being the case, it is urgent that the Government delivers on its pledges of 6,000 more GPs and 26,000 more members of the wider practice team, so that general practice can continue to utilise its expertise at delivering vaccination programmes as well as delivering all the other care and services our patients rely on us for.”

Further information

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RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
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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.