Locum GPs half as likely as partners to have both COVID-19 jabs by end of February

Locum GPs were half as likely as GP partners to have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine by the end of February, BMA data show.

COVID-19 vaccine (Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)
COVID-19 vaccine (Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images)

A BMA poll that tracks vaccination rollout to UK doctors found that locums were among the least likely of several groups of doctors to have received a second jab by the end of February.

GPonline reported in January that COVID-19 vaccination for locum GPs had trailed behind the rollout to other doctors, with one in 10 locums yet to receive a first dose by 23 January.

Updated figures show that 26% of locums reported having their second jab by 27 February, compared with 36% of salaried GPs and 49% of partners.

Second vaccine doses

BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul has called for greater efforts to ensure all groups of doctors are vaccinated against coronavirus, while the association has called for second vaccine doses to be ‘ramped up’ extensively in coming weeks to ensure medics are fully protected.

The BMA said that the proportion of doctors in the UK to have received a second vaccine dose was ‘increasing’. The vast majority of UK doctors in frontline patient-facing roles have received a first vaccine dose.

It said that despite gaps between doctors in different roles, vaccination rates did not vary significantly by ethnicity. Around 35% of doctors from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups had received two doses - the same as the proportion of doctors of white ethnicity.

Responding to the vaccination statistics Dr Nagpaul tweeted: ‘We at the BMA have been surveying the medical profession on vaccine uptake and second doses - [we] need to ensure equity of vaccination access for all categories of doctors [and health care workers]’.

BMA sessional GP committee representative Dr Rachel McMahon said earlier this year that identifying locum GPs for vaccination was the ‘crux of any potential problems’ with vaccine access, with locums often not being attached to practices.

A lack of a centralised system has also been highlighted as a potential cause of locums not receving their jabs as quickly. The National Association of Sessional GPs (NASGP) has previously reported its members have had variable access to vaccination.

Locum GPs have been advised to flag themselves a healthcare worker to gain priority access to the vaccine at the current practice they are working at, a practice they have worked at in the past or via their registered GP, among other options.

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