THE Isle of Wight MP says any suggestion the Covid vaccine will arrive later here than other areas is 'to the best of his knowledge, false'.

Bob Seely has responded to news revealed the location of vaccine hubs - including our closest, Portsmouth.

Earlier this week, Mr Seely said the Island would be a priority area for the vaccine.

In a letter to NHS trust chief executives last month, those in charge of the vaccination programme, listed NHS Trusts where a Covid vaccination hub is to be set up.

Speaking at the Downing Street briefing last night, chief executive of the NHS Sir Simon Stevens, said the first vaccines would be going to those hubs from next week and would be distributed from there.

The doses of the coronavirus vaccines will filter to the community through vaccine centres, when approval is given to split the packs - with 975 in each.

They have to be carefully controlled and must be stored at a temperature of -70°C, said Sir Stevens.

Mr Seely has rebuffed comments the Island is not a priority area, due to its lack of vaccine hub.

He told the Isle of Wight County Press that Portsmouth has been the priority for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, saying the hubs are 'generally major hospitals in major population centres.'

He says the media has yet to see the full plans.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Mr Seely said: "There are three modes for vaccine roll-out: hospital hubs, vaccination centres and the community (via GPs). The maps doing the rounds today show only one of these: hospital hubs. Full plans are being worked on. The media has yet to see these.

“Therefore, any implication that the Island will get the vaccine later than elsewhere is, to the best my knowledge, false.

"The Island, as I have said, is a priority area after Portsmouth. This has not changed. 

"Hospitals named as hubs are generally major hospitals in major population centres. Portsmouth has been the priority in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight because every area/region needs a single initial hub. 

"It is also true to say that it has a significant number of Covid patients - and staff - at therefore potentially higher risk.

"After Portsmouth Hospital, my understanding remains that the Island, along with one or two other locations in the Hampshire, Isle of Wight area is part of phase two. Again, this has not changed.

"That decision to ensure relatively early supply of the Island was made due to the potential vulnerability of supplying an Island rather than mainland centres.

"The current plan also includes a vaccination centre on the Island. This will be confirmed shortly. 

"How those vaccines are then distributed on the Island is then a matter for planning experts. This work is being done and was begun prior to vaccine approval. I thank the experts for their work.

“Because the Island has a small population compared to cities, some of the distribution of the vaccine may be done through GPs surgeries. This has always been a potential plan, in addition to a vaccination centre.

“My recent statement even to the IW media on the vaccine was checked and cleared by the IW NHS Trust to ensure accuracy. I have just come off the phone from public health experts to confirm this statement."