Plans underway for more vaccinations in rural areas

  • Video report by Fiona Marley Patterson

It has been confirmed additional healthcare sites may become available to distribute the Covid-19 vaccinations in South Lakeland.ITV Border understands GPs are expecting deliveries of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is easier to move than the Pfizer vaccine so it could be delivered in smaller batches from other local GP surgeries in the coming weeks.

The local NHS clinical commissioning group has confirmed plans are underway to look at the "opportunity" of delivering the vaccine from "additional healthcare sites".

It comes after some people over the age of 80 who live in Ambleside and Windermere were asked to make a 40-mile round trip to be vaccinated in Grange-over-Sands. Meanwhile people living in Sedbergh were traveling to Kirkby Lonsdale.

The issued was discussed in Parliament on Tuesday evening. Local MP Tim Farron said: “I am concerned that there are parts of my community where we have yet to get the vaccine rolled out; I ask for the Minister’s intervention, through the CCGs, to ensure that we fast-track site approval.

 “It is important, particularly for older people and people who rely on public transport, that we do not overlook rural communities such as ours and that we ensure that the vaccine is delivered close to where people live.”

Credit: PA

Responding to calls for more rural vaccine centres, a spokesperson from Morecambe Bay Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Due to the unprecedented scale of the vaccination programme, rollout is taking place in stages. 

"Primary Care Networks (PCN) – groups of family doctors working together – are providing local vaccination services for the patients registered with their practices.

“We understand that not all vaccine sites are in close proximity to where patients live, but changes in national guidance for vaccine transportation now mean that there is an opportunity for us to implement delivery from additional healthcare sites which should make it easier for people to access the vaccine in their local area.

“Local plans for these additional healthcare sites are underway and further updates will be provided. We would like to assure our local population that we are working tirelessly as a local healthcare system to vaccinate our patients as soon as possible.”