15th GP dies of Covid Doctors demand NHS staff vaccination speed-up & condemn gap between jabs

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NHS workers outside the BBC in September highlight the 640 who had died from Covid-19 by then

HIGHLY respected London GP Dr Augustine Obaro died from Covid-19 on New Year’s Day, becoming the 15th GP lost to the pandemic.

Dr Obaro, who worked at Addison Road Medical Practice in Walthamstow, London for the last 17 years, died on 1st January after a short battle with coronavirus, his practice confirmed.

Dr Obaro, 63, moved to the UK from Nigeria in 1999 to start GP training and went on to play a major role in his community – supporting fellow African doctors in the UK and serving as part of the Waltham Forest GP Federation.

This latest GP death during the pandemic follows repeated BMA calls for the government to prioritise vaccination of frontline staff against Covid-19. Dr Obaro is the thirteenth GP from a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background to die from coronavirus.

Meanwhile, a survey of doctors across the UK by the campaign group Everydoctor found that medics in many places who’d had their first dose of a Covid vaccine have since had their appointments for the second dose cancelled.

The government ann-ounced last Wednesday that it was shifting its vaccination policy to delay the period between administering the two doses from the recommended three to four weeks to 12 weeks, as it made frontline health and care staff a key priority group for vaccination.

Just 388 (30%) of the doctors said they had received their first dose and are still due to have their second as planned, regardless of the change in approach.

Karoline Lamb, 84, said she was ‘absolutely fuming’ that she might not be able to get the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine: ‘I was so elated when I had the first one. I had no side-effects and I’m booked in for the second one on 21 January, but I’m extremely worried it will be cancelled.’

Dr Julia Patterson, the lead for Everydoctor, said doctors fear that delaying the second dose they need to obtain full immunity could lead to them becoming ill or infecting colleagues or patients.

In a self-selecting survey of 1,318 doctors, 175 (13%) said that while they had received one dose of a Covid vaccine, the appointment for their second dose – booked when they were first inoculated – had since been cancelled. Another 517 (39%) said they had still not been told when they would have their first dose.

‘The Covid-19 crisis is escalating and we need to urgently protect those who are working on the frontline. If healthcare workers are left unprotected, they are at risk themselves, and they may also pass coronavirus on to vulnerable patients,’ said Patterson.