VACCINATION WORRIES: Liverpool MP calls on government to address supply issues
A Liverpool’s MPs has called on the government to address concerns over the UK’s vaccination scheme as worries grow that issues with supply may slow the program down.
Liverpool Wavertree Paula Barker has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock expressing concern that problems with the rollout could lead to delays.
It comes as the North West has had its vaccine supplies cut by a third for February to allow other regions to catch up and stem a shortage in jabs.
In her letter, written after she visited a vaccination centre in Kensington at the weekend, Ms Barker said she had serious concerns about the regular supply of vaccines as well as the new IT system being used to handle the rollout.
Speaking to the LDRS today, Ms Barker said that while staff at the centre were working hard to administer the vaccines, the new Pinnacle IT system had led to delays an questioned why the government had not used existing software systems to support the rollout.
She said: “It does not take a rocket scientist to join up different parts of the system to make it fit for this task.
“There are people I have spoken to who are genuinely at a loss as to why the system already available is not being used
“These people are working long, long hours to help with this vaccination effort, there are junior doctors that have been brought in to help out as well. I am in awe of them.
“They are doing an amazing job but they should not have to deal with some of the problems they are dealing with.”
Ms Barker joined a number of other politicians from our region, including Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram, in calling on the government to ensure a steady supply of vaccines to our region to ensure a swift rollout.
There are growing concerns about gaps in supplies of vaccines amid intense demand and problems with the supply chain. Such issues have badly hampered the rollout of vaccines in the EU.
The Department for Health and Social Care have been contacted for a response to the claims in Ms Barker’s letter.
Ms Barker also hit back at the city’s Lib Dems, saying some of the party’s members had criticised her decision to visit the vaccination centre on social media as an unnecessary trip while the lockdown continues.
Ms Barker said that she had checked with Liverpool CCG, who advised when would be an appropriate time for her to visit the centre safely.
She said: “MPs have been visiting vaccination centres up and down the country to examine how they are working. I asked the CCG if there was availability to visit to raise awareness about the importance of vaccinations and speak to staff there.”
She said the city’s Lib Dems needed to have a “long hard think” about what she said was a decision to politicise a crucial visit.
In a response, Lib Dem leader Richard Kemp said the party had never put out a statement condemning her visit and that individual party members had commented on social media
He said: “The Labour Party are two faced in Liverpool. On the one hand they criticise the Liberal Democrats for delivering leaflets, which we are not doing.
“On the other when anyone criticises their role as an elected representataive they get touchy and aggrieved.”
Words: Nick Tyrrell, Local Democracy Reporter
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