CONCERNS have been raised over the number of vaccines available in Blackburn and Burnley.

At a meeting of the Lancashire health and wellbeing board, Dr Julie Higgins – joint chief officer of East Lancashire clinical commissioning group – said she was concerned about the volume of vaccine currently available in some areas.

She said the issue was particularly worrying because of the "health inequalities" already in existence in the two towns.

She added that there were also worries over minority ethnic groups and the vaccine.

Dr Higgins said: "If we look at the number of vaccine drops we have had, because of the way we established ourselves – which was the right way with large sites – what we have had is delivery of vaccine per site, which means some of our areas with the greatest health inequalities, such as Burnley and Blackburn, have had less vaccine per head of population.

“So we are monitoring this, because we are concerned about creating greater inequalities.

“What we don’t know, but we suspect, is that we have also got some inequality with minority ethnic groups."

“We are seeing that mobilised, so hopefully it will have an impact on those groups who are less inclined to come to be vaccinated, so that we can get some really positive messages out there and dispel some of the myths that are out there as well.”

Jane Scattergood, Covid-19 vaccination director for the Lancashire and South Cumbria integrated care system (ICS) said: “As the expansion of the Covid vaccination programme continues to gather pace, we are planning to open large-scale sites in Preston and Burnley in the coming weeks.

“GPs, nurses, pharmacists, other staff, and volunteers are working hard behind the scenes to get the sites ready.

“As with other vaccination services, people should wait to be invited by the NHS.

“The rollout of the vaccine and establishing these sites involves a wide range of organisations working together.

“We need to thank the significant support to the NHS to deliver the Covid vaccination programme from our wider partners, including Cumbria County Council, Lancashire County Council, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council, Blackpool Council, our district councils, the military, police, local businesses and many more."