Pfizer complexity challenged medical practice

A young person receives the Covid jab.

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Lorn Medical practice was one of five GP surgeries across Argyll and Bute that had to withdraw from vaccinating the 18-39 age group against Covid-19.

The main reason was due to the complexity of managing the Pfizer vaccine and the space required for the 15-minute wait for patients after receiving it, a Covid update report has revealed.

The document went before members of the integrated joint board (IJB) of Argyll and Bute’s health and social care partnership (HSCP) at its virtual meeting on Wednesday September 15.

HSCP’s associate director of public health Dr Nicola Schinaia said the delivery of Argyll and Bute’s extensive vaccination programme should not be underrated and had not been without its challenges.

Dr Schinaia’s report said: ‘Vaccinations continue to progress well, mainly led by GPs for the public. All of our practices delivered the vaccination programme to the adult population over 50. One practice withdrew from the programme before the start of priority 10 group for ages 40-49.

‘Another five practices have withdrawn from delivering the programme to priority groups 11 and 12 for ages 18-39.’

Lorn Medical Centre practice manager Mairi Dunnings told The Oban Times: ‘Delivering the Pfizer vaccine is more challenging for practices as there is a requirement for the patient to wait 15 minutes after immunisation; the layout of the Lorn Medical Centre, the surgeries in Mull, and in the other locations made this difficult to accommodate.

‘The most recent GP contract recommended that Health Boards set up Vaccination Teams to deliver all vaccinations, but this has proved to more difficult in NHS Highland than in many other regions of Scotland.  Most other Health Boards are delivering these immunisations out with the local General Practice structure.   NHS Highland are currently establishing these teams and the practices are working closely with them.

‘Lorn Medical Centre and Mull & Iona Medical Group, along with the other practices in North Argyll have signed up to deliver this year’s Flu Immunisations, along with Pneumococcal and Shingles Immunisations, and they will be supported by the Health Board teams.’

The earlier report to IJB members said: ‘Significant contingency planning was already in place to enable HSCP vaccination teams to step in and run HSCP clinics in Oban and Dunoon, and assisting in Mull. Contingency plans remain in place for any other areas in case any further practices withdraw.

‘The main reason for withdrawal is due to the complexity of managing the Pfizer vaccine and the space required for the 15-minute wait post vaccination.’

IJB members also heard more than nine out of 10 adults in Argyll and Bute are now fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The percentage of 16- to 17-year-olds receiving their first Covid vaccine dose in the area is also already above 60 per cent, with more than 10 per cent already fully vaccinated, according to a new report.

As of September 7, the report said 69,987 people in Argyll and Bute have had a first dose, a total of 64,166 people have had a second dose.

Also an estimated 61.7 per cent of those aged 16 and 17 have had a first dose, and 11.5 per cent a second dose in our region.