Police officers are receiving leftover doses of the Pfizer vaccine as it is reported elderly people are refusing the jab – because it is ‘foreign’.
Council leaders are appalled at vulnerable people missing their appointments to receive the dose of the vaccine, with one doctor saying it shows “nationalism has consequences.”
The Mirror reported former Stockton South MP Dr Paul Williams OBE’s frustration at elderly folk who have been turning down the vaccine – made in Belgium by American firm Pfizer – instead saying they will ‘wait for the English one’.
And now, with vulnerable people who had been due to be vaccinated as a priority instead missing their appointments, up to 10 police officers received their first doses in Nottingham – to prevent vital vaccine supplies being wasted.
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Once defrosted from -78C, at which it must be stored, doses of Pfizer’s jab must be used within days or go to waste.
Trials have shown the jab is actually more effective than Oxford University’s vaccine.
Police confirmed to NottinghamshireLive that a handful of officers working at vaccine centres were given the jab instead so the Pfizer vaccine was not thrown away.
They added that there are no plans to rolls this out across the Nottinghamshire force.
Meanwhile a council leader voiced his frustration at people failing to turn up to their Covid vaccination appointments.
Nottingham council leaders are outraged the vaccine is being wasted and calling for tighter restrictions so the programme is not stalled or runs into huge sums of money.
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said the vaccine programme had been “problematic” with people not turning up to their appointments.
According to reports, every vial of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine shipped to the UK contains five doses of the jab, but does have enough to administer two more doses.
It is believed the vials are filled with the extra doses in case the vaccine spills in transit.
They are also kept in special fridges and must be used within a specific time period.
Up to 10 police officers have received the vaccine so far as a result of appointments not being attended or so the extra doses in the vials are not wasted.
Mr Tipping said: “There are two issues around the Pfizer vaccine – you can get more out of a vial than is allowed – so you can get an extra dose out and that should not be wasted.
“Getting people through the door has also proved problematic. Some people don’t turn up to appointments.
“A number of police officers for Nottinghamshire have been to the Queen’s Medical Centre and had an injection.
“It is about five or 10. People are keen to use it if it is available. Nobody in Nottinghamshire is putting police officers to the front of the queue for the vaccine.
“But if it is available we don’t want to destroy it and it is best we use it in a positive and constructive way. Police are delighted to have been asked.”
More than a million people have been vaccinated across the country so far. Plans are to have priority groups vaccinated by mid-February.
Priority at the moment is people aged 80 and over, people who live or work in care homes and healthcare workers at high risk.
Councillor John Clarke, leader of Gedling Borough Council, said: “I am appalled that people are not turning up for their appointment.
“There is a lot that has gone into this and it disturbs me that people are not taking full advantage of it.
“The NHS needs to tighten up the wastage because we are all so desperate for this injection.
“It is £39 for the first vaccine shot. I am glad they are using it on police but everyone is working hard to beat this virus and people are not paying attention.
“This is not a fad. We’ve had nearly a year of this.”
An NHS doctor expressed his frustration at patients turning down the chance to get the Pfizer covid-19 vaccine – rather opting to “wait for the English one”.
Former Stockton South MP, Dr Paul Williams OBE who assesses people with coronavirus symptoms in Hartlepool and Stockton said the remarks were “a lesson that Nationalism has consequences”.
Dr Williams posted on social media: “Some local patients have turned down an offer this weekend of getting a covid vaccine when they found out it was the Pfizer one. ‘I’ll wait for the English one’.
“People at risk of death in the depths of a pandemic.
“A lesson that Nationalism has consequences.”
Dr Williams has warned about the dangers coronavirus poses and how challenging the current time has been in the pandemic.
He has been running clinics for months but said earlier this week he’d “never had a busier day than today”.
He added: “Please take care everyone. This is real and this has just got more serious.”
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first to be approved by the UK and is currently being administered to patients across the country.
The University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was approved by the healthcare regulator on December 30 and first administered in the UK on January 4.