Covid-19: How the UK vaccine rollout delivered success, so farBMJ 2021; 372 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n421 (Published 18 February 2021) Cite this as: BMJ 2021;372:n421
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Covid vaccination is a complex process. Patients do not attend necessarily for both vaccines to the same provider, nor they attend as scheduled, nor they keep their cards confirming what was given as their first vaccine. They are at risk of not completing their vaccination schedule in the way it was intended, which could mean the need to start the process again, and the inevitable consequences of wastage and inconvenience.
Data regarding vaccination in the UK is stored in two places, vaccinators enter their activity in outcomes4health, and GP electronic health records are updated immediately following those entries. There could be hospital-based vaccination centres, there could be large mass-vaccination centres, but data is only stored in those two places. Who is responsible for checking the data and remind patients lost to follow up of their needs?
Without a clear path, without a contingency plan, relying in the patients to find their way in the system could be insufficient to warrant an orderly completion of their vaccination programs. Considering also the fact the patients should have the second vaccine with the same brand , it could add complexity to the matter.
There is a need for supervision of the individuals undergoing Covid vaccination, so patients do not miss the current twelve-week window for their vaccinations. In the current situation, chaos is present; there are no dates for second vaccines, there is no clarity on future deliveries of neither vaccines nor what brands.
General practice is under considerable pressure aiming to provide a continuity of service while at the same time taking more of the follow-ups and tests from secondary care (as they have reduced capacity) and also stretching to provide the Covid vaccination program, not only to their patients but to other healthcare workers, to care homes staff, which are not in their registered lists.
The situation is very fragile and likely to result in patients missing their second doses. Somebody needs to supervise this. If GPs are going to have the responsibility of checking their registered patients are completing their Covid vaccination schedules additional support will be needed.
1. Covid-19: Vaccine brands can be mixed in “extremely rare occasions,” says Public Health England. BMJ 2021; 372 n12. doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.n12
Competing interests: No competing interests