MP says ‘war effort’ needed as he backs vaccination campaign

The Arundel & South Downs MP tells why he is backing the A Shot in the Arm campaign

Thursday, 21st January 2021, 2:02 pm

I am pleased to support the call by JPIMedia – the national voice of truly local newspapers – for the vaccine to be made available to be administered by local pharmacies.

Now that supplies of the Oxford vaccine are available it would speed up vaccination and save lives. The UK has got off to a great start and is well ahead of all other European countries. Almost four-million healthcare workers and the most vulnerable have received the life-saving vaccine.

I pay tribute to the Sussex health authorities for their brilliant work so far.

Arundel and South Downs MP Andrew Griffith

But we need a ‘war effort’ and that involves NHS England mobilising all our nation’s resources, not leaving some idle despite their proven ability to administer vaccine as they do in the annual flu programme.

Already, our hard-pressed GPs and practice nurses are feeling the impact of the initial sprints to vaccinate a small minority of residents. If we are to sustain the pace for weeks and months more it is time to spread the load.

Here in West Sussex we have a high proportion of vulnerable residents combined with a poor rural transport network.

An approach which relies solely on vaccine hubs in the larger medical centres leaves too many ‘not spots’ and too many residents exposed to delays or having to embark on unsafe travel.

The campaign calls for more community to be involved in vaccinations

Arundel, Petworth and Henfield, for example, each have much-loved local pharmacies yet their octogenarian residents are being asked to make a wintry journey to be vaccinated in a different town.

So, whilst change may not happen overnight, I am pleased to support this JPIMedia campaign and will make the case in the corridors of Westminster at every opportunity.

• More than 80,000 people have signed the petition – find out more by clicking here and add you name to the change.org petition here.