THE NHS vaccination programme in West Yorkshire is confident that capacity and supply of Covid-19 vaccine will be in place to “double up” inoculations in March.

Matthew Graham, programme director for the West Yorkshire vaccination programme, was answering questions from West Yorkshire Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee members about the vaccine roll out.

Coun Graham Latty (Con, Guiseley and Rawdon) of Leeds City Council asked how confident the board could be of having capacity and supply of vaccine to continue the process smoothly when new groups and patients having to have their second shot – of the right vaccine – would be happening at the same time.

Mr Graham said the NHS would be making sure centres had the right type of vaccine for second shots and they had been told supplies of vaccine would increase by this period, expected to start in March.

“We have planned in terms of capacity that we would be in a position to double the amount of vaccinations we deliver each week, if we get sufficient vaccine supply,” he said.

94 per cent of Bradford over 70s have had Covid vaccine

Bradford councillor Vanda Greenwood (Lab, Windhill and Wrose) said she had heard some Keighley surgeries had been told they would not get any more vaccines until March and asked would they arrive in time to give people their second inoculation within the necessary 12 weeks.

Mr Graham said he was confident they would and incidents like this happened across West Yorkshire with supplies balancing out.

Kirklees councillor Liz Smaje (Con, Birstall and Birkenshaw) asked how carers who were not registered could get the vaccine and Communications and engagement consultant Eleanor Nossiter said hidden carers were the real concern with work now under way with local carers’ organisations to try and pinpoint them.

Calderdale councillor Colin Hutchinson (Lab, Skircoat) said trust and confidence in the programme was crucial and meant it had to be transparent, but Calderdale’s COVID champions had found instances where people were not told beforehand about side effects or adverse reactions, which were mostly mild.

Mr Graham said sites did have information but sometimes ran out but the consent process included people being told verbally if leaflets were not available – but Coun Hutchinson this had not always happened in his experience.

Mr Graham told the meeting vaccination had been undertaken with a place-based approach to make the most of local knowledge and links, involving the NHS, local authorities, and the voluntary and community sectors.

By last Sunday (Feb 21), more than 650,000 people had been vaccinated in West Yorkshire, with the first four priority groups offered vaccinations by February 15 as per target, he said.

The meeting was hosted virtually by Calderdale Council.