A significant delivery of Astra Zeneca vaccine is due in Northern Ireland this week, with GPs expected to get their hands on it within five days of its arrival.
Dr Laurence Dorman, chair of the Royal College of GPs in Northern Ireland, said the expected supplies must be used within just a few weeks but stressed that GPs are up to the task of getting it to patients in time.
“We are going to get increased supply, which is great,” he told the News Letter.
“We don’t get exact figures but we’ve been told it’s substantial.
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“One of the provisos of it is that it has a short shelf-life with it, that it expires at the end of this month which is only a few weeks.
“Having said that, GPs want to go for this. We want this opportunity. Now, it won’t suit every practice but we feel most practices should be able to.”
He continued: “The big reason we are very keen on it is so that we can start doing second doses of Astra Zeneca. That’s going to start next week.
“From next week it will go to the practices that started their campaign on the fourth of January, and the following week it will go to the practices that started their campaigns from the 11th of January.
“This is a big froup of patients but, behind the scenes, doing the second doses is slightly easier than the first doses.”
He explained why that is the case, saying: “JYou have to draw up a list, you have decide who the vaccine is going to, and you have to make sure you have enough vaccine to cover everyone on that list. But with a second dose it’s easy enough because I’ve already drawn up that list. It is more straightforward.”