The supply of the vaccine into Lancashire and the North West must not be cut to allow London and the South East to “catch up” with the rest of the country, the head of the body spearheading Lancashire’s response to the pandemic has warned.
Lancashire Resilience Forum chair Angie Ridgwell was speaking out after alarming reports appeared in the media saying that the vaccine supply to the North West is to be slashed by a third to allow London and the South East to get more because they have been lagging behind the rest of the country.
Edge Hill is a key partner on the Lancashire Resilience Forum and is supporting the plea not to cut supply of the vaccine.
Lancashire has led the way with its vaccination programme, with more people being vaccinated per head compared to most of the rest of the country.
Angie Ridgwell said: “Thanks to the hard work of our NHS, supported by other public bodies, the vaccine roll out in Lancashire has been phenomenal.
“Lancashire has significant health inequalities compared to other areas and these have been exacerbated by Covid. Getting the vaccine out quickly and effectively to those who need it most is the best way for us to ensure that our county can recover from this dreadful pandemic. It must not be jeopardised because other areas have underperformed.
“We must not be made a victim of our own success.”
Edge Hill University’s Vice-Chancellor Dr John Cater added: “The vaccine must go to the areas of greatest risk. Whilst Covid can affect anyone, and devastate anyone’s life, foremost it is a disease of age, of poverty, of morbidity, of ethnicity and race, and those areas with the greatest challenges should have the greatest priority.”
Significant pockets of Lancashire’s population are under 70 with multiple long-term health conditions. Lancashire’s success at reaching the top four priority groups means the county can and must move quickly to other priority populations.
Given the North West has had the highest proportion of hospital admissions and deaths in hospital, any reduction in the speed of our vaccination programme risks the recovery of the NHS in the region and the county.
Angie added: “We appreciate there are international issues around vaccine supply, but that should not translate into providing successful delivery areas, particularly those hardest hit by the virus, with a proportionately lower supply of vaccine.”
Despite this worrying news, Lancashire’s local NHS continues to vaccinate large numbers of those most at risk of death or serious health complications. It is vital that, when contacted by the NHS, people should get their jab.
All the latest information is available at the Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria coronavirus vaccine website.