'We should not be victims of our own success:' Lancashire leader speaks out against vaccine supply cuts
The chairman of Lancashire Resilience Forum has spoken out against the vaccine supply cuts set for Lancashire next month.
It came after it was revealed today the North West will have its vaccine supplies cut by a third in February.
Angie Ridgwell, chairman of the Lancashire Resilience Forum, said the county "should not be penalised" for its success in the roll-out of Covid vaccinations so far, as around three quarters of all patients over 80 have been vaccinated in Lancashire and South Cumbria.
The council boss has spoken out against the plans for supply cuts, with a plea to ensure the county's residents are not left behind.
"The roll out of the vaccine has been phenomenal in Lancashire. Lancashire has the highest proportion of vaccinations in the North and one of the highest in the country. That is all down to the hard work and dedication of our local NHS, supported by other public bodies," Ms Ridgwell said.
"This success cannot be jeopardised. We should not be penalised because other parts of the country have not done as good a job as us.
"We should not be the victims of our own success."
Ms Ridgwell added that London and the South East's failure to roll-out their vaccines as effectively should not lie with Lancashire, amid fears that significant health inequalities in the county "must not be exacerbated further by an inequitable restriction on vaccine supply."
Another 2,997 people tested positive during the last 24 hours in the North West, bringing the region's total number of cases to 507,932 as of today (Wednesday, January 27, 2021.)
Ms Ridgwell outlined her concerns about supply cuts affecting these rates, and said a "reduction in speed of [our] vaccination programme risks the recovery of the NHS.
"It is vitally important that we stop the spread of the virus in Lancashire and free up the NHS to get back to addressing the long term health issues such as cancer and cardio vascular disease which are major causes of underlying poor health in Lancashire," she added.
Worries over vaccine supplies increased this week after UK-based AstraZeneca and US firm Pfizer both warned of a reduction in planned deliveries because of production problems.
Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said supplies "are tight, because these are new manufacturing processes," but he was confident the UK would get enough vaccine supplies to meet its dosages targets, after ordering "367 million doses of vaccines from seven manufacturers."
But Ms Ridgwell said the international supply issues should not translate into giving successful vaccine delivery areas such as Lancashire a lower supply of jabs.
An NHS North West spokesperson said: "The North West is being fully supplied with all the vaccinations needed to offer vaccination to everyone across the region aged 70 and above, as well as clinically extremely vulnerable patients, and health and social care staff.
"Our job is to get them vaccinated by mid-February so targeted deliveries are being made to areas where there are more people left to vaccinate in the priority cohorts."
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