Calls for calm as patients struggle to book Covid jabs in Norfolk
- Credit: Danielle Booden
"Everybody who is eligible will receive a vaccine."
That is the message from health bosses as people in Norfolk and Waveney struggle to book coronavirus jabs at nearby venues.
Frustration has been growing in recent weeks, with many patients in their 40s offered appointments in locations including in Cambridge, Ipswich, Boston and Skegness - but none in their home county.
The issue has been put down to a reduction in supply which was expected throughout April, resulting in second doses having to be prioritised.
But Norfolk and Waveney CCG, which has been leading the local rollout, said it was "urging everyone to be patient".
Its chief executive Melanie Craig said: "With fewer vaccines available this month - as was expected and planned for - we are having to prioritise the current supply of vaccine for people needing their second doses.
"This means there are fewer local vaccination sites appearing as options on the national booking system.
“This has been compounded by an increased demand for first dose appointments as people in cohort 10 have become eligible for vaccination in line with national guidance.
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“If you cannot find an appointment at a vaccination site close to where you live please do not contact your GP practice. Our GP practices are very busy and we need to keep telephones clear for patients needing an appointment with a GP or nurse for other health issues and urgent care."
On Friday, (April 30), officials announced everyone over the age of 40 can now book in for a jab.
Text messages are being sent out to 40 and 41-year-olds, a few days after the rollout was extended to those aged 42 and over.
A decline in vaccine supply was expected during April due to a delay in the delivery of millions of doses from abroad.
That, in turn, has impacted the number of slots available for first doses, but Mrs Craig said more will be available in May.
"As supply increases over the coming days and weeks, more options will open up and you should be able to book an appointment closer to home," she added.
"Please keep checking the national booking system every few days for the latest local vaccination slots.
“We are committed to making sure no-one gets left behind."