Speaking at a Westminster Health Forum policy conference last week (March 24), Dr Gillian Ellsbury said that it was “absolutely vital” that momentum from tackling the COVID-19 pandemic “is not wasted”, which is why “the government’s commitment to a refreshed and ambitious 10-year vaccine strategy is so important”.
That strategy should “apply lessons learned from the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination programme”, Dr Ellsbury said, including “making greater use of alternative providers, such as community pharmacy, to alleviate pressure on the system and improve access in the harder-to-reach communities”.
“It’s about making immunisation convenient and removing barriers that sometimes get in the way,” Dr Ellsbury added.
Any future vaccine strategy “should set clear and ambitious targets for all adult vaccinations, putting them on par with childhood vaccines”, she said.
When asked for more information on the 10-year vaccine strategy Dr Ellsbury made reference to, a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told C+D: “There’s nothing for us to update on this right now.”
Dr Ellsbury continued: “I have no doubt that the pandemic has sharpened our focus on the importance of vaccination in keeping our nation well and protecting our NHS. It is clear that vaccination should be the bedrock of prevention, the bedrock of resilience. And this is where the opportunity lies.
“We must apply what we have learnt over the last year and harness the opportunity to set a vaccine strategy that boosts the health and wealth of the nation, and puts the UK firmly at the forefront of innovation.”
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