GPs and their teams must be given the Covid-19 vaccine soon to safeguard the mass vaccination programme, the Royal College of GPs has said.
RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall said practice teams must receive the jab "in a timely manner" to minimise the risk of workforce sickness absence.
He said: "It’s imperative that GPs, our teams and others involved in delivering the vaccination programme have the opportunity to receive the Covid vaccine in a timely manner. This won’t just protect us from this terrible virus, allowing us to continue working on the frontline delivering patient care, but also patients and our families."
He added: "[T]here is long road ahead of us, and the last thing we want to see is the workforce depleted as staff fall ill due to Covid-19 at a time when we need all hands on deck."
Professor Marshall welcomed NHS England plans to ensure frontline workers are vaccinated and said that prioritising those providing frontline care within communities was "sensible and essential".
The College has also appealed to NHS England for "clear and reliable" communication to practices about when they will receive a supply of the Covid vaccine.
Professor Marshall said practices must be given as much notice as possible ahead of a delivery, and that any last minute changes of plan are "minimised".
He said: "Preparing for a vaccination clinic is no easy feat, it involves meticulous planning. Having to change these plans with little notice is frustrating and demoralising for GP teams – not to mention confusing and disappointing for patients.
"It’s vital that GPs and their teams on the ground, running vaccination clinics, are communicated with clearly and listened to - and that any concerns they have about the rollout taken seriously, so that they can be addressed."