The NHS is on standby to roll out a coronavirus vaccine from December, health secretary Matt Hancock has said.
And in York, a draft plan for a vaccination programme has been drawn up.
The city’s public health director Sharon Stoltz told councillors: “My personal view is that we’re not likely to have a vaccine before Christmas.
“It would be great if we did, but I suspect that it will be available in fairly small quantities to start with.”
York’s plan takes that into account when it comes to prioritising who gets the vaccine.
The first cohort
Ms Stoltz told councillors that the first cohort of people to receive the vaccine will be
- people who are over 80
- care home residents and staff
- and frontline health care workers.
These vaccinations will be delivered in partnership with GP practices.
As further vaccine supplies become available, “we will start to move into mass mass vaccination planning”, she said.
“We’re not going to be able to deliver a mass vaccination programme just through the NHS.
“We’re going to have to respond as all partners to support that mass vaccination program. And some of those conversations, I’ve already started with the North Yorkshire local resilience forum.”
The council is talking to GP practices about any additional resources they might need – including “whether our health visitors and school nurses need to be involved”.
She added: “I had a telephone conversation with the chief executive of York Racecourse today, who was offering the facilities of the racecourse to support us with a mass vaccination programme.
“So this will very much be a city response.
“And we’ll do whatever we need to do as a city to support our GP practices to be able to deliver an effective vaccination programme.”