The head of the body spearheading Lancashire’s response to the pandemic has urged that the supply of the Covid-19 vaccine should not be cut to Lancashire the the North West to allow London and the South East to ‘catch up’ with the rest of the country.Advertisement
Lancashire Resilience Forum chair Angie Ridgwell was speaking out after alarming reports appeared in the media saying that the vaccine supply to the North West is to be slashed by a third to allow London and the South East to get more because they have been lagging behind the rest of the country.
Read more: Preston and South Ribble’s latest coronavirus infection rates as UK reaches grim Covid deaths milestone
Lancashire has led the way with its vaccination programme, with more people being vaccinated per head compared to most of the rest of the country.
Angie Ridgwell said: “Thanks to the hard work of our NHS, supported by other public bodies, the vaccine roll out in Lancashire has been phenomenal.
“Lancashire has significant health inequalities compared to other areas and these have been exacerbated by Covid.
“Getting the vaccine out quickly and effectively to those who need it most is the best way for us to ensure that our county can recover from this dreadful pandemic. It must not be jeopardised because other areas have underperformed.
“We must not be made a victim of our own success.
“We appreciate there are international issues around vaccine supply, but that should not translate into providing successful delivery areas, particularly those hardest hit by the virus, with a proportionately lower supply of vaccine.”
Significant pockets of Lancashire’s population are under 70 with multiple long-term health conditions.
Read more: Police issue warning to Preston and Lancashire residents about Covid-19 vaccine scam text and emails
Lancashire’s success at reaching the top four priority groups means the county can and must move quickly to other priority populations.
Given the North West has had the highest proportion of hospital admissions and deaths in hospital, any reduction in the speed of our vaccination programme risks the recovery of the NHS in the region and the county.
Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council said: “I’m flabbergasted, I really am. Lancashire was taking the lead on the vaccination programme and the distribution across those eligible was going incredibly well.
“For it to be reported that the region’s vaccination stock is set to be cut by a third to allow other areas of the country to ‘catch up’ is absurd.
“Lancashire, particularly South Ribble, time and time again across the pandemic has taken the brunt of some of the harshest restrictions and the successful vaccination programme was the light at the end of our tunnel.
“What does this say to the people across the North West? That the Government can comfortably take potential life-saving vaccinations away from our most vulnerable because other areas in the country need to ‘catch up.’ Why penalise a successful vaccine roll out in this way?
“I want the truth. I want to understand why there is not enough vaccination stock to allow all areas of the country to have a successful roll out. I’ll be speaking with our MP Katherine Fletcher as soon as I can.”
Despite this worrying news, Lancashire’s local NHS continues to vaccinate large numbers of those most at risk of death or serious health complications. It is vital that, when contacted by the NHS, people should get their jab.
Find where is giving the coronavirus vaccine in your area below
Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines
What do you think? Should we give the South time to ‘catch up’? Let us know in the comments below.