Government supply issues force Queens Park vaccine hub to temporarily close next week

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Bedford
Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Bedford is one of the centres where over 18s can get a COVID jab.

The recently opened vaccination hub at the Queen’s Park Gurdwara has been forced to temporarily close next week due to delays in receiving supplies.

This comes as Bedford Borough has recorded over 10,000 Covid-19 (coronavirus) cases since the pandemic began.

A spokesperson for the BLMK CCG described the temporary closure as “hugely disappointing”.

They said they were hopeful that they would be able to advise residents next week when the temple will be open again.

Care home supplies of the vaccine have been ring-fenced, meaning that all residents and staff at the Borough’s care homes will have received their vaccine by Sunday (24 January).

The arrival of Bedford’s first vaccines lagged behind the national rollout and Mohammad Yasin MP has written to the Health Secretary regarding these further delays.

Read: Bedford coronavirus vaccine rollout to begin in January

Cllr Louise Jackson, portfolio holder for public health, health & wellbeing said: “Supplies should be sent as a priority to the areas that haven’t yet been able to vaccinate all of their over 80s – and that unfortunately includes Bedford Borough, despite the good progress that has been made.

“To have an excellent team ready and waiting to vaccinate our most vulnerable residents, but no supplies to vaccinate them with must be incredibly frustrating for staff and patients alike.”

Bedford and Kempston MP, Mohammad Yasin, was due to meet with Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi, this morning (Friday), but the Minister didn’t attend the meeting.

“I have written to the Health Secretary following concerning news about vaccine delays in Bedford Borough,” said Mr Yasin.

“MPs across the East of England and I were supposed to be meeting with the Vaccines Minister, Nadhim Zahawi this morning, but the Minister did not show.

“Nevertheless, I took the opportunity to question NHS officials and the CCG on whether this is a supply or logistical issue, and the current situation in Bedford Borough.

“I was told that it was a supply issue, however, the Health Secretary must urgently confirm this and outline what he plans to do to address the shortages,” he said.

Mr Yasin added that any shortfall of vaccines at such a critical time in the national rollout would be appalling and would threaten the ability of both vaccine centres to remain open.

While over 50% of the Borough’s over 80s have received their first dose of the vaccine, this supply issue will slow down the vaccination programme.

“The centres are ready and we have hard working staff ready to administer the vaccines,” said the MP.

“Now the Government must do its job and get those workers the supplies they need to get Bedford vaccinated.”

Cllr Jackson laid the blame with Westminster.

“The government need to drop the spin around headline numbers and provide some granular data to inform our local response, and they need to sort out a distribution formula now to iron out these inconsistencies,” she said.

According to Government data, there have now been 10,595 positive cases of COVID-19 in Bedford Borough, which equates to around 1 in 16 people having tested positive for the virus.

The new variant of COVID-19 is also said to be spreading fast and it’s been estimated that one in three people who have the virus do not display any symptoms.

If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 – a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss/change to your sense of smell or taste, self-isolate immediately and book a test.

Mayor Dave Hodgson said: “Bedford Borough has had more than 10,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and tragically 287 people have died.

“To help slow the spread, we are reminding everyone of the importance of abiding by the lockdown regulations, remembering hands, face, space when you do need to go out, and the vital need to self-isolate when instructed to do so.

“The vaccine rollout has begun. We all need to pull together, play our part, and keep ourselves, our friends and families and our communities safe.”

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