Coronavirus: One of country’s biggest vaccine sites runs out of supplies for two days

Derby Arena, which can inoculate thousands of people every week, was left standing idle for 48 hours 

Colin Drury
North of England Correspondent
Thursday 14 January 2021 10:58 GMT
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Harold Millington, 91, who has become the first person to be vaccinated at Derby Arena on 7 January
Harold Millington, 91, who has become the first person to be vaccinated at Derby Arena on 7 January (PA)

It was supposed to be the moment when the coronavirus vaccine programme was truly ramped up.

Instead, as the government trumpeted the launch of its seven massive new hubs on Monday, one of the country’s biggest facilities already operating fell quiet for a full 48 hours – because no jabs were available.

Derby Arena, which started inoculating people last Thursday, stood idle throughout all of Monday and Tuesday after its supplies ran out.

At full speed, it will be able to vaccinate hundreds of people every single day.

“You have to ask yourself what is going on,” said Alan Graves, a councillor with the Reform Derby party on the city council. 

“We have Boris Johnson on TV telling us all how great these new super sites are going to be while, on the very same day, here we are with our facilities already up and running, and we can’t get the supplies we need. It isn’t good enough.

“Give us the tools and we’ll do the job but we do need the tools.”

The NHS Derby and Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Group (DDCCG), told The Independent the pause had been caused by “logistical challenges that need to be resolved nationally”.

In a statement, a spokesperson said: “Unfortunately, due to circumstances out of the [GP] practices' control, vaccinations did not take place at Derby Arena on January 11 or 12. This did not affect any booked patient appointments, and vaccinations will resumed on January 13.”

The revelation will raise further questions about the creation of the seven so-called super-sites, which have been created in Manchester, Stevenage, Newcastle, Bristol, Birmingham, London and Surrey.

GPs have repeatedly expressed concern that the hubs will result in vital vaccine supplies being diverted away from more localised – and more experienced – centres such as GPs, pharmacies and community facilities like the Derby arena site.

They also fear the hubs are confusing and logistically difficult for older patients to get to. One GP told The Independent there was a widespread fear among doctors that they would prove to be “white elephants."

On Wednesday, meanwhile, it was revealed dozens of people aged over 80 – many with walking frames, some with oxygen tanks – have had to queue outside for more than an hour to get their jab at the Newcastle Centre for Life.

The Department of Health and Social Care has been contacted for comment.  

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