Doctors explain why thousands of north Derbyshire patients won't be getting the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine yet

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A group of GPs serving north Derbyshire have explained the reasons why they won’t be delivering the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to patients yet.

Doctors within the North East Derbyshire Primary Care Network (PCN) were expected to begin vaccinations from Thursday – but have now had to stand down from administering the Pfizer vaccine due to new guidance.

National guidance states that patients need to be kept under observation for 15 minutes following their vaccination to rule out anaphylaxis, a severe allergic shock.

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North East Derbyshire PCN clinical director Dr Steve Rossi described the development as ‘disappointing’.

A vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Image: Getty.A vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Image: Getty.
A vial of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Image: Getty.

“We have had to pull back, primarily but not solely due to the reintroduction of the 15-minute observation period, which makes our site unusable,” he told medical magazine Pulse.

“We are therefore standing down until there’s further guidance or if the AstraZeneca one comes in and doesn’t have that 15-minute observation – which we sincerely hope it doesn’t – then we’re confident that we can then get involved.”

He added: “The long and short of it was that even though there are lots of other questions with regards to how the whole thing’s going to work with call and recall, and booking, and the input from the CCG, the thing that really has been the nail in the coffin, certainly in the short term, is this 15-minute observation.”

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North East Derbyshire PCN serves a population 39,542 and includes practices in Clowne, Killamarsh, Barlborough and Eckington.

It has been reported that more than 100,000 patients across the UK will not be able to get the vaccine from their family doctor because they lack capacity to take part in the roll-out.

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued the 15-minute observation guidance after two hospital workers had an allergic reaction to the vaccine last week.

NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group declined to comment on decisions of individual sites.

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A spokesperson for the NHS said: “As set out and supported by the BMA, general practices will deliver the vaccine from nominated sites within primary care networks, where it is safe and practical to do so.

"There has been a fantastic response from GPs across England signing up to do so.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.