Callers tell of fears of Covid vaccine shortages after volunteers and patients 'struggle for doses'

1 April 2021, 11:28 | Updated: 1 April 2021, 11:52

By Will Taylor

Callers have shared worries with LBC that fewer volunteers are being called to give Covid vaccines and relatives' jabs are being delayed.

Their fears come amid concern the UK's rapid vaccination programme is slowing down after reports of 1.7m vaccine doses being held up in India.

And LBC understands that a vaccine centre in Kent that should be offering thousands of vaccinations each day will soon only be able to offer dozens due to a shortage of doses.

The shortage worries persist despite one London library seeing huge queues as it tried to use its surplus vaccines.

One caller, John, from Middlesex, said he was one of the 30,000 St John Ambulance volunteers requested by the NHS.

He told Nick Ferrari that only 9,000 were needed in the last update, and he expects it to drop to 6,000 in the coming months.

"I am hugely frustrated. I have friends who work for the NHS turning up to shifts being sent away," he said.

"And all of their shifts for the next two weeks have been cancelled basically due to the lack of take up but also the lack of vaccines."

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Matthew in Heathrow said: "My mother is 86 and was due her second Pfizer vaccine today.

"When she had it on 5 January, they didn't give her an appointment.

"Last week I was chasing the doctor... and they told me then that they were struggling with the people who had the Pfizer in December to get their second jab.

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"I phoned them a couple of days ago and they're saying there is a problem, we can't get hold of it. With this now, I don't think she is going to go out."

Lindsey, from Newcastle, who has been shielding for more than a year, was due to get her first dose at the weekend but was told only so many are done per area.

Nick Ferrari said something had "gone very, very badly wrong here".

Julie, in Heydon, Norfolk, said she was due to get her second Pfizer dose on 13 April but due to shortage that has been brought forward a week.

"We're just glad that we have got a second jab coming up," she said.

A biomedical scientist told Nick Ferrari that while there "might be a few dips along the way I really don't think it's going to impact the vaccination programme".

LBC has contacted the Department of Health for comment.

Across the UK - one of the most successful countries at rolling out vaccines - 30,905,538 first doses have been given out, while 4,108,536 second doses have been jabbed.