Sunday , July 25 2021

Coronavirus vaccine likely to have only ‘marginal impact’ on hospital numbers this winter



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The coronavirus vaccine will have only a “marginal impact” on the number of hospitals during the winter, Britain’s top medical staff have warned.

Festive gatherings are likely to further burden health services, a few difficult months ago,

The group – which includes English teacher Chris Whitty – said. They also warned that they did not expect the virus to “disappear” even after vaccination.

It comes as preparations continue to spread the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine as early as Tuesday in what has been described as “one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS”.

General practitioners in England were also told to be ready to start staffing Covid-19 vaccination centers by 14 December.

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In a letter to colleagues, the four chief medical officers said this winter would be “particularly difficult” for the health department due to the coronavirus.

“While the very welcome news about vaccines means we can look to 2021 with more optimism, the spread of vaccines will only have a marginal impact on reducing the number of people entering health care with Covid over the next three months,” they said. they.

“The actions and self-discipline of the general population during locks and other restrictions have helped lower the peak, and in most parts of the four countries the number of hospitals is expected to decline in the coming weeks, but not everywhere.

“The social turmoil that is happening around Christmas can put additional pressure on hospitals and general medicine in the New Year, and we need to be prepared for that.

Letter, signed by the Chief Medical Officer of England, Professor Chris Whitty; from Scotland, Dr. Gregor Smith; from Wales, Dr. Frank Atherton; and Dr Michael McBride of Northern Ireland said they did not expect the virus to “disappear” even after vaccination.

The first strikes will be carried out on Tuesday in each of the British nations. In Northern Ireland, it will be administered at a mass vaccination center at Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast, while in Wales NHS staff and social services will receive the country’s first coronavirus vaccine.

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The first vaccinations will take place in Scotland next week, while the injections will be given in hospitals in England.

Meanwhile, in a letter sent to English primary care networks, the NHS England and the NHS Improvement said that vaccination centers run by GPs would start administering doses from 14 December.

The letter said the centers would be set up with the necessary computer equipment and a refrigerator, while staff would receive training to ensure they were ready to deliver 975 doses of the vaccine to priority patients within three and a half days. childbirth.

The first to receive the vaccine in these centers will be people aged 80 and over, provided that other risk factors are taken into account, “clinical or not”.

Problems remain on how to secure an elderly resident of a nursing home, which is recommended as a top priority, impact access due to difficulties in storing and transporting the Pfizer / BioNTech version due to its cold temperature. – minus 70 ° C – limit the frequency. can be moved.

The NHS England has not yet made a date for the release of the vaccine in nursing homes, but Dr Juneun Raine, chief executive of the Agency for Drugs and Health Products, told the BBC she felt the vaccine would be administered. . to retirement homes “in the next two weeks”.

In total, about 40 million doses of Pfizer inoculation have been ordered – enough to deliver up to 20 million people, with two injections lasting 21 days.

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