How is the COVID-19 vaccine supply going to affect Batchwood Hall?

The COVID-19 vaccination team at Batchwood Hall, St Albans

The COVID-19 vaccination team at Batchwood Hall, St Albans - Credit: Supplied by The Lodge Health Partnership

Batchwood Hall vaccination centre has been briefed on the news that the UK is preparing for an expected shortage of vaccination supplies next month.

NHS England has reassured organisers that the reported reduction in vaccine supply is only in comparison to the recent significant increase.

Batchwood's vaccination clinic, which is run by STAVACS, was celebrated as one of the nation's top performing centres in February by health secretary Matt Hancock. Although they have the capacity to vaccinate 14,000 people a week, they have only been vaccinating upwards of 1,000 people weekly due to supply; a situation that Daisy Cooper MP has personally addressed.

Dr Helen McAndrew, joint clinical lead of STAVACS explained that the supply for second doses at Batchwood has been secured, and continues to be guaranteed at 11 weeks post-first vaccine: "It is important that patients continue to attend for this second vaccination dose at the same site that they received their first vaccination since second dose supply matches dose for dose the first dose supply previously received to complete their full vaccination course and gain maximum protection from the COVID vaccine.

"GP-led sites like Batchwood Hall have often had very short notice of supply delivery dates so we do not book second dose appointments at the time of booking the first since we do not wish to cancel thousands of patients by guessing the wrong delivery date.

"People should not be put off booking at GP-led sites because of this as they will receive the right vaccine at the right time through us and we will contact them direct nearer the time with an appointment."

For the month of April, STAVACS has been advised that first dose supply will be reduced, but there will still be some supply to Batchwood. They endeavour to continue to encourage high vaccination coverage in cohorts 1-9, and in areas of health inequality by directly inviting their patients by call or text.

To ensure the smooth booking of those awaiting vaccination appointments, Dr McAndrew is encouraging people to ensure that their practice has the correct mobile phone number on their record, as currently, people cannot book into the GP-led sites via the national booking system.

Last month, STAVACS warned of a scam call that was circulating and incorrectly informing people that there were no available appointments at Batchwood Hall, and that they could be vaccinated at home.

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She added: "Mass vaccination sites and pharmacy sites have been asked to honour existing bookings that they may have already taken but they are not open for any new bookings and none will be able to be made through the national booking system or 119. Currently no site in the national programme is permitted to move onto phase 2 and cohort 10."

Cohort 10, which is the start of phase 2, consists of those between 40 and 49 years of age.

You can follow Club Batchwood's vaccination team on Twitter at @STAVACS.