Covid booster jab plans spark 'serious concerns' as pressure mounts on GP practices

Payment to GPs for delivery of vaccines has dropped 20 percent since last year’s rollout, the British Medical Association's Dr Preeti Shukla said

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The new Covid-19 booster plans have sparked “serious concerns” as pressure mounts on GP practices across the country.

Earlier this week, the UK Health Security Agency approved Moderna's new jab that targets the Omicron variant to over 50s as part of the autumn booster programme.

But a cut in spending, coupled with rising staff shortages, means some medical professionals are concerned about using it in the autumn rollout.

Payment to GPs for delivery of vaccines has dropped 20 percent since last year’s rollout, according to Dr Preeti Shukla, clinical and prescribing policy lead at the British Medical Association.

The UK Health Security Agency has announced that it will offer Moderna's new jab that targets the Omicron variant to over 50s
The UK Health Security Agency has announced that it will offer Moderna's new jab that targets the Omicron variant to over 50s
Dr Preeti Shukla said she has 'serious concerns' about the rollout
Dr Preeti Shukla said she has 'serious concerns' about the rollout

Reacting to the news of the rollout, Dr Shukla said she has “serious concerns”.

She said: “The new Moderna bivalent vaccine is great news in the fight against the Covid virus and will make an important addition to this autumn’s booster programme – a programme essential to preventing another outbreak in the winter.

“However, with the current well-documented pressures on GP practices and the reduction in the funding for delivery of these vaccines, we have serious concerns about the rollout.

“Payment to GPs for delivery of vaccines has dropped 20 percent since last year’s rollout while the costs for GP practices have only rocketed in the meantime.

“This vaccine will require freezing and refrigerating, an ever more expensive operation as energy costs rise.

“The new Moderna vaccine only strengthens the case for returning payments to last year’s level rather than trying to deliver a booster programme on the cheap.

“GP practices, while glad to hear of a new vaccine to add to their arsenal, will nevertheless be wondering if the numbers add up as they face a difficult autumn and winter."