Lack of patients prompts vaccination clinic cancellation at Doddington
A Fenland vaccination centre has had to cancel a session because of a failure of patients to take up the second dose.
Fears of the extremely rare side effect of blood clots could be to blame for patients missing appointments and others failing to make an appointment for a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has been associated with the problem.
Simon Hambling, a partner in the Fenland Group Practice, which is heading up the vaccination programme at Doddington Hospital, said he was disappointed by the decision to cancel this Friday's (4) clinic.
He said there were 900 slots available over Thursday and Friday but with only 150 booked in for Friday it did not make sense to continue. Those who had appointments will be rescheduled.
Dr Hambling said: "We have about 16 members of staff and up to a dozen volunteers to run a clinic, but there is no point in having them sitting around twiddling their thumbs for much of the day because we haven't got the patients.
"If people are being put off having their second dose of the AstraZeneca because of concerns over the blood clots then they need to realise that if they had a first dose and survived without getting a blood clot, then they won't get one with the second.
"People need to have both doses for maximum protection so I would urge everyone who has had one dose and been reluctant to have a second to get booked in.
"Wednesday was a red letter day, no deaths were recorded nationally because of Covid for the first time since the pandemic began, and that is largely due to the vaccination programme - it stops people from dying.
"We are now sending out invitations to the 27 to 29-year-olds so we are a little ahead of NHS England. Unfortunately we only had AstraZeneca available on Friday so we could not offer that to anyone under 40.
"We have already vaccinated over 45,000 at Doddington, and I estimated we had about 60,000 in total across all cohorts so we are pretty close to being done and we expect to have vaccinated everyone who wants the jab by mid-July - that's our aim.
"Missed appointments and people not booking in for a second jab is not just a problem here in Fenland it is a national problem, and there is a lot of information out there explaining the side effects.
"There have been only about 300 cases of blood clots out of 30 million people who have been vaccinated, so it is a very, very small proportion, and only around 70 deaths - so it is important people take that into account.
"What I'm waiting to hear is that we can vaccinate 12 to 18-year-olds because that is the only way we are going to properly stop the pandemic."
He added that anyone with concerns could discuss their worries with their GP.