Blackpool's health boss condemns North West vaccine supply cuts
Blackpool's director of public health has expressed his disappointment that a third of vaccine supplies will be cut from the North West next month, despite the Winter Gardens being ready to administer them round the clock.
Dr Arif Rajpura, director of public health for Blackpool Council, said he was "extremely disappointed" by the decision to cut vaccine supplies by a third in the North West from February.
Lancashire Resilience Forum chairman Angie Ridgwell also voiced her concerns about the supply cut earlier today, saying Lancashire "should not be penalised" for having a successful vaccine system, by diverting supplies meant for the county to London and the South West.
Dr Rajpura echoed her fears about how the supply cuts would affect the elderly and vulnerable patients of the region, especially considering it has had one of the highest rates of Covid-19 since the summer.
“The north of England has suffered disproportionately throughout this pandemic and it therefore seems unjust for the Government to take a decision that flies in the face of the need to tackle health inequalities," Dr Rajpura said.
“Many areas of the North West have faced consistently high levels of COVID-19 infection since the summer and have faced ongoing severe restrictions.
"The vaccine offers us the opportunity to get back to some degree of normality later in the year so that we can start to protect lives and livelihoods and get our children back into school."
Dr Rajpura also revealed that Blackpool's winter Gardens, which opened as a mass vaccination hub on Monday, was prepared for 24-hour vaccinations if necessary.
He continued: "When the vaccination programme was announced, Lancashire and the North West hit the ground running in terms of getting our hubs operational, as exhibited here in Blackpool where the Winter Gardens is now open and ready to move to a 24-hour service if required.
"There is no sense in taking away that impetus."