How many people will miss the vaccine because they don’t have a GP?

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I am looking forward to having the Covid-19 vaccine. Well, not the actual act of having a jab in my arm (twice), but because it will open up my life. Apart from a short window in the summer, we have not had any social visits in our home since March and we still only leave the house for walks or for medical reasons.

We can both be confident that we will be called in for the vaccine at some point in the New Year. But it appears that an unknown number of eligible people may be missed. Thousands of people in the UK are not registered with a GP. We can only speculate on the reasons why anyone may not be registered – it could be down to something simple like moving house, or it could be something more complex around immigration irregularities, even because someone is the victim of trafficking.

To be effective, as many people as possible should be vaccinated, whatever their immigration status. So surely the NHS needs to know how many people in the country are not registered, so they can be traced and contacted?

Munira Wilson asked Health Minister Jo Churchill how many people are not registered in England, and was told “No such estimate has been made.” In other words, they don’t know.

Apparently over 60million people are registered with GPs in England and that figure is actually larger than the population, which implies that many people are registered with more than one GP, and that people who have left the country or have died are still on GP lists. But that, of course, masks the numbers who are not registered at all.

Munira is quoted as saying:

With so much relying on the Government to successfully roll out the vaccine, it is absolutely vital that ministers make sure everyone can access it. The fact that there has been no estimate made of the numbers of individuals not registered with a GP calls into question what plans, if any, they have made to reach everyone.

People are placing so much hope on the vaccine that any further blunders in the Government’s response to the pandemic will further devastate the millions of people hoping that by next Spring we can expect to return to a level of normality.


* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames where she is still very active with the local party.

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  • Peter Hayes 17th Dec '20 - 2:39pm

    Also how many people are still in contact with their GP? My partner has lived with me since before the lockdown and not seen her GP in years, only knew practice but not current assigned GP. Now registered here.

  • Paul Murray 17th Dec '20 - 5:29pm

    I’ve just had the flu shot at my GP’s surgery. It would not be wrong to describe it as resembling a military exercise. Arrived at side door, temperature checked, squirt of hand gel applied, straight through to a room and jab given, leaflet offered and out the door. From start to finish it took literally about 90 seconds. I found myself wondering if this was a dry run for the covid vaccine.

  • John Marriott 17th Dec '20 - 8:53pm

    What do the late Claude Rains and my local GP have in common? The answer is that they have both played the rôle of the invisible man. Trying even to get to speak to anyone at our local practice is a minor marathon, to the extent that my wife and I got our free flu vaccine at the local Co-op Pharmacy.

    Goodness knows if we shall ever get our COVID vaccine when it’s our turn.

  • @Paul Murray –
    I’ve just had the flu shot at my GP’s surgery. It would not be wrong to describe it as resembling a military exercise.”

    It needs to be, if it is to achieve a signifcant coverage of the population before next summer.
    Personally, I don’t see a problem, when we received vaccines at school it was well organised machine, only problem, the medical professionals at the time had scant understanding of proper vaccine handling – that only really came in after Wakefield…
    Hopefully with CoViD-19, commonsense will prevail and school-based vaccinations are re-instated as a normal part of UK school life.

  • @Roland – definitely not complaining about it! I was very impressed by the speed and efficiency of the process.

  • I am not registered with a GP because in 67 years of life, I have only had two decent ones, for a total of about 3 years. The rest have been arrogant, patronising, bullying, uncaring and, in a couple of cases, incompetent. After moving to my current location, three years ago, I cannot sum up the willpower to go through the registration process here.
    So it seems I will have to go without the vaccine.

  • Nigel Ellison 26th Jan '21 - 8:57pm

    I don’t have a good….how do I get the vaccine??

  • I would say to @CJ and @Linda Dale (if they happen to still read this thread) do register with your GP to get the vaccine – you don’t need your NHS number and it takes literally five minutes to register and the form (which I think varies by GP Practice) just involves giving a few details – basically just name, address and date of birth.

    I do understand the sort of feeling of confronting authority when you have put something off – but its stupid not to get the vaccine and get it as early as possible.

    I have recently registered having moved and being a typical man not wanting to confront medical matters. I was also diagnosed with high blood pressure (which I knew I had but which can be a silent killer) but is now coming down nicely with some medication and may have saved me from an early death.

    I’d also venture that it would be worth getting a bit of a check up at your ages if you haven’t for a while – something I always hate but hey if it prolongs your life a bit…!- or if you don’t want there is no compulsion to see your GP about anything else! Just be on their records for the vaccine.

  • I don’t have a GP so was told I can’t get the COVID injection I am 65 years old … so where does that leave me now ?

  • @Lynda

    Do register with a GP – it’s easy and you can even do it on a temporary basis –

  • So how do I get a jab I’m not registered as I moved ?

  • @Linda Dale

    That’s excellent news. Good luck with everything!

  • John O'Donnell 1st Mar '21 - 2:44pm

    I attempted to book an appointment without a NHS number and was told it couldn’t be done. Far from wanting to inoculate everybody the government seems happy to exclude anyone not registered with a GP.

  • @ John O’Donnell
    You don’t need an NHS number to receive the vaccine. Staff will ask for it as it makes their job easier. Just contact your local CCG, threatening to make a complaint. They will have a process in place to vaccinate unregistered people and those without an NHS number.
    They are vaccinating homeless people and others, so even though we are being told to wait until we’re contacted, some people will need to contact them.

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