The Covid vaccination programme is expected to be expanded to include patients aged 40-44 next week, NHS England has said.
It comes as NHS England said there is already enough vaccine supply ‘in systems’ for all of cohort 10 – those in their 40s – and that practices will continue to receive no ‘new’ first-dose deliveries.
Last week, GPs were told that vaccination sites should begin offering Covid jabs to patients aged 45-49 ‘where supply permits’.
Speaking in a GP webinar last night, NHS England director of primary care vaccination Caroline Temmink said that NHS England is ‘expecting some more guidance next week on the vaccination of 40-44s’.
She added that NHS England ‘will be in touch’ with those patients.
However, Ms Temmink told GPs that second doses ‘remain our priority’ and that they should continue to focus on reaching unvaccinated patients in cohorts one to nine.
She added: ‘Please do remember to keep going back around and offering vaccinations for those in cohorts one to nine who haven’t yet been vaccinated. We do ask you just to keep on focussing on those first cohorts of one to 10a, so down to the 45 level.’
Meanwhile, an NHS England slide presented at the webinar suggested that GP sites will not get any new first-dose delivered for another two weeks, after Management in Practice’s sister title Pulse revealed earlier this month that this would be the case for a fortnight.
The slide said: ‘[There is] sufficient stock already in systems for first doses for cohort 10. We will not be sending further new first dose supply out from the centre in the weeks commencing 26 April and 3 May.’
The Government had warned that vaccine supply would take a dip in April amid delivery issues, but the health secretary had previously said some first doses would continue in every week of the month.
However, NHS England reiterated that additional supply of the Pfizer vaccine is available if practices do not have enough to vaccinate the under-30s in cohorts 1-9, those with contraindications to the AZ vaccine or those who are pregnant.
It comes as GP-led vaccination sites that don’t have an AZ alternative were last week told to cancel first-dose appointments for pregnant women, after the JCVI recommended they should preferably be offered the Moderna or Pfizer jab.
It follows the news that the under-30s should also be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine for their first jab amid blood clot reports.
Meanwhile, the health secretary has said that the administration of Covid vaccinations from GPs’ individual practices will be ‘looked at properly’.
This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.