Doctors are told to bin leftover vaccines instead of giving second doses – Mirror Online

Outraged GPs claim they are being forced to bin leftover Covid-19 vaccine doses.

Doctors claim local health services bosses are warning them they must not use the doses on anyone who has already had their first jab.

Medics claim the policy is hampering the effort to vaccinate over-80s, along with frontline health and care workers.

Dr Robert Morley, director of professional support at the Birmingham Local Medical Committee, told The Telegraph : “This is ridiculous, bordering on the criminal, to actually be wasting vaccines when you have the worst global healthcare crisis for a century.”

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Pharmacist Rae Hynes wears PPE as she accepts a box of the Covid-19 jab over the counter in Boots, Halifax

A Boots pharmacy in Halifax, Yorkshire, joins in the vaccine rollout
(Image: Boots / SWNS)

Despite the race to vaccinate 15million of the UK’s elderly and clinically vulnerable by mid-February, surgeries have told of dealing with leftover vaccines.

Dr Morley said it was difficult to predict exactly how many would turn up to get their vaccine, and some missed appointments, leaving surgeries with unused doses.

The Pfizer vaccine is difficult to store, as it must be transported and kept in extremely cold conditions and only lasts a few days once defrosted.

The Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine is being touted as easier to roll-out as it doesn’t require ‘cold-chain’ storage.

Dr Morley claimed an order from NHS England in a letter to GPs sent on Monday was being interpreted too literally by local NHS managers, provoking some clinics to bin doses.

He claimed that while many surgeries in Birmingham were ignoring the advice and making sure their vaccine stock was used up,some were less confident and were throwing it away to avoid getting into trouble.

The doctor said he believed the leftovers should be a second dose for health-care workers who are already in the building, rather than being sent to the waste-heap.

Dr Julia Patterson, who is founder of Every Doctor, a campaign to protect the NHS and its workers, claimed at least six different workplaces had told her organisation doctors had been forced to bin leftover doses.

An NHS medic in a mask holds a dose of Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine

The Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine is not as difficult to store
(Image: PA)

And Dr Brian McGregor, a GP who chairs the BMA’s Yorkshire regional committee, echoed the claims.

He told the newspaper NHS England had told his local clinical commissioning group to dispose of unused vaccine doses.

He claimed they had been warned the would be “performance managed” on the issue.

Mr McGregor said: “They control our contracts, payments, vaccine supply, regulation, and can make life unbearable.”

Derek Mersh, 82, receives a Covid-19 jab at Superdrug, in Guildford, Surrey

Derek Mersh, 82, receives a Covid-19 jab at Superdrug, in Guildford, Surrey
(Image: PA)

The British Medical Association (BMA) council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul told the Telegraph reports of doses being binned were ‘unacceptable.’

He said any wasted dose denied someone the chance to be protected from potential death.

At the very least, any leftover doses should go to healthcare workers on site, Dr Nagpaul added.

The BMA called on NHS England to urgently clarify its policy on leftover jabs.

An NHS spokesman told the Telegraph: “There is absolutely no reason why vaccine should be wasted.

“Local vaccination sites should be managing their appointment lists to ensure all appointments are filled and they have a back-up list of patients and staff who can receive the vaccine at short notice.”