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Coronavirus West Berkshire: Surgeries facing 'very restricted supply' of Pfizer vaccinations

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Falkland Surgery provides update on Newbury Racecourse hub

The wait for covid-19 vaccinations in Newbury and Thatcham is due to GP surgeries facing restrictions in its supply.

Last week the director of nursing at Berkshire West Clinical Commissioning Group, Debbie Simmons, said that a vaccination hub at Newbury Racecourse would go live this week.

She added that all surgeries in Berkshire West would be live for Pfizer vaccinations by the end of this week.

One person has contacted NewburyToday saying that their 86-year-old neighbour had been told by their surgery that there were no doses of the vaccine in Newbury.

Smaller surgeries such The Boathouse Surgery in Pangbourne began vaccinating patients before Christmas, while Chapel Row has been vaccinating over 75s since last week.

Director of Public Health Berkshire West Meradin Peachey previously said there had been "gaps in the system" and the complexity of the Pfizer vaccine had played a part in it not being available everywhere straight away.

Today (Monday) the Falkland Surgery in Wash Common said that surgeries were "very restricted by supply" of the vaccine.

In a message to patients the surgery said: "Delivery of Covid-19 vaccinations at Newbury Racecourse is expected this week.

"As only one batch of 975 vaccines will be delivered this week the first patients being invited will include Falkland surgery as part of Kennet PCN (Primary Care Network) and the the rural practices (six practices).

"We are very restricted by supply of this vaccine at present. We expect the supply to increase and then this will be shared across nine practices in the region".

The vaccination hub at the racecourse has still not been officially confirmed by NHS England. Mrs Simmons told a public meeting last week that she wasn't officially meant to provide details but it's existence was public knowledge and had been reported in the press.

Newbury Racecourse said today that final preparations were being made for the hub to open later this week.

The Falkland Surgery said today that vaccination clinics will be held at the Racecourse over a period of two to three days at a time.

In its statement it said: "Depending on when the vaccine is received will determine the dates of the clinic, if the vaccines are received on a Friday then clinics will be on Sat, Sun & Mon etc. We are not pre-booking appointments until we have confirmation of the delivery dates as we do not want to cancel patients appointments should no vaccines appear."

The surgery said that patients aged 80 and over and those clinically at risk could expect an invite once notification of the next vaccine delivery was received.

"The timeline for appointment booking will be very short so we will be calling patients on the telephone to arrange appointments," It added. "Those patients will have appointments booked for a later clinic that week."

The surgery advised those in the first cohort who could not drive to the racecourse to contact family or friends to arrange transport, and said there might be an opportunity for volunteers to help.

It warned against scams saying that surgery staff would not ask for bank details, and that people asked should put the phone down and report it to the police.

Finally, the surgery asked people not contact the practice to book a vaccination as "you may be disappointed".

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