A good friend of mine is British and lives in the United Kingdom. She sent me an interesting email this morning. Since the advent of COVID-19, we have compared notes on the differences and similarities of the pandemic on both sides of the pond. I grant you that this information is not only second hand but told through the lens of one person; however, for many months we have both been intrigued at the information that does NOT make it into the national press of either country. My friend reports that today the UK started its COVID-19 vaccination program, the First Tranche focusing on individuals 80 years and older. The second tranche will be medical staff, and the third tranche individuals aged 75 to 80. The rest of the population will receive the vaccination in subsequent groups.

Some folks may like the fact that the UK National Health Service (NHS) will pay for it all, and that there will be no private sales (or what the British refer to as “queue jumping.”) Everyone who is vaccinated with will have a certification card. The fine print is that at the moment there are only 70 hospitals in the entire UK that are vaccinating. However, beginning next week, most general practitioners are supposed to be able to offer vaccinations. It’s the largest mass vaccination program ever attempted by the NHS, and it might be made more challenging by the fact that most people have not been able to SEE their GP for months. GP’s, almost entirely employed by the NHS, have been conspicuous by their absence. In fact, the government had to remind them that they ARE under contract and expected to be at work. The difficulty people have had obtaining an actual visit has worsened the general dissatisfaction with less than attentive or personal care from physicians whose salary is not impacted by things like patient satisfaction.

If you missed my post on my experience with socialized healthcare (albeit many years ago), here’s a link: