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Why are people in Peterborough struggling to book vaccine appointments?

Peterborough residents have been reporting struggles to book an appointment for their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine.
People under 40 should be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine, leading to fewer appointments

This week it was reported that, as of May 30, one-third of those in their 30s in the Peterborough local authority had received at least one dose of a vaccine.

However, many readers took to social media to report that their efforts to book their jab were more challenging than they expected. Some said that they were being offered appointments in Wisbech, Corby, Kettering and Boston.

Others said that relatives over 40 were being offered a range of appointments, while they could see nothing in the local area.

A spokesperson from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has said that the national booking service "only shows locations that currently have appointments available, and also appointments available for an appropriate vaccine for the individual's needs".

This means that pregnant women or people under the age of 40 have a more limited offering of appointments, in line with advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which has recommended that these patients receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

While the balance of benefit and risk for the AstraZeneca vaccine is very favourable for older people, it is more finely balanced for younger groups, who do not tend to suffer serious coronavirus illness.

The CCG added: "The vaccination programme is continuing at pace in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, with over 882,000 doses delivered to date and staff working incredibly hard to vaccinate more people every day.

"We are grateful that so many people are eager to get the vaccine as soon as they can and we would urge local residents to keep checking the National Booking System regularly, as more appointments are added on a regular basis."