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COVID-19 vaccine update 6 January 2021

Briefing update (6 January 2021):

Covid-19 Vaccination Programme

Rollout of local COVID-19 vaccination services for over-80s

Vaccine programme update

In December last year,  we began rolling out the vaccination programme with the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine reaching patients 80 years of age and above, as well as frontline health and social care staff, based on the JCVI guidance for priority groups. According to government published figures, 944,539 people received the vaccine between 8 December and 27 December in the UK.

The COVID-19 vaccination programme has gained further momentum with the news that the Oxford/ AstraZeneca vaccine has been authorised for use. The first Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccinations will be delivered to hospitals during thefirst few days, as is standard practice, before the bulk of supplies will be sent to hundreds of GP-led services and care homes later in the week. Before the vaccine can be distributed, each batch needs to be checked and approved. As soon as this happens the NHS can deliver.

Prioritisation of first doses of Covid-19 vaccines

The four UK Chief Medical Officers (CMOs) have said that, ‘Prioritising the first doses of vaccine for as many people as possible on the priority list will protect the greatest number of at risk people overall in the shortest possible time’.

This means that second doses of both vaccines will be administered towards the end of the recommended vaccine dosing schedule of 12 weeks. This will maximise the number of people getting vaccinated and therefore receiving protection in the next 12 weeks maximising the impact of the vaccine programme in its primary aims of reducing mortality and hospitalisations and protecting the NHS and equivalent health services.  

Two doses of the vaccine are still needed to get the best protection from the virus.

Local delivery of the vaccination programme

In order to provide protection to as many residents over the age of 80 as possible, vaccinations are being rolled-out in the following areas:

  • Salt Hill, Slough
  • Heatherside, Surrey Heath, moving to Lakeside next week
  • Monteagle Surgery, Yateley
  • Farnham Centre for Health, Farnham
  • Desborough Suite, Maidenhead
  • Windsor Racecourse, Windsor
  • Waitrose Sports Hall, Bracknell/Ascot
  • Princes Hall, Aldershot
  • Southwood Practice, Farnborough
  • Langley Health Centre, Slough

Effectiveness of the vaccines

People cannot choose which vaccine they receive. All available vaccines have to approved by passing the Medicines & Healthcare Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) tests on safety and efficacy. So, people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get, it will be highly effective and protect them from coronavirus.

Reaching friends and family of the over 80 population

We want to vaccinate as many people as possible as quickly as possible. The NHS has a clear vaccine delivery plan and the vaccine is being rolled out as quickly as doses can be supplied and quality checked, with over a million people already vaccinated right across the UK.

Groups of GP practices are working together as Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to deliver the vaccine to their registered populations at Local Vaccination Services. This means that residents may find that friends and family have been vaccinated before them. Please do not worry or assume you have been missed. The main barrier to vaccine delivery will be availability of the vaccine.

Residents will be contacted directly by their GP surgery with an invitation for their vaccination, and all those vaccinated will need a booster jab within 12 weeks.

Some GP surgeries have reported their phone lines being crippled by family members calling to ask when they will get the vaccine. We need your help to please share this information, as practices are being hindered from making outgoing calls, booking appointments, or taking calls from those who need urgent care, if people continue to call to ask about the vaccine. 

We are vaccinating patients as fast as we can; however, there is still a limit to the pace we can go at to keep patients and staff safe and continue to provide a high-quality of care to those who need us the most.  Please do not call the practice to ask why you haven’t been invited, or assume that you’ve been missed because your neighbour has already had their vaccine.

Your support in reiterating these key messages with your local population will be most appreciated:

  • please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you;
  • when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments;
  • and please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.

Across the country, in early 2021, we will be standing up additional capacity, including Vaccination Centres, enabling us to increase the rate of vaccinations significantly.

Vaccinating care homes

We have been doing everything we can to ensure care homes in England are getting the support they need to tackle Covid-19. In terms of vaccination, larger care homes with 50-70 beds will be prioritised at first and we are working hard to vaccinate all care home residents and workers as quickly and safely as possible.

Keep abreast of vaccination updates

  • For more information on the vaccine, please visit nhs.uk/covid-vaccination
  • Figures on vaccination uptake for the UK will be published on a weekly basis on the PHE coronavirus data dashboard
  • Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System website here for public information leaflets and latest news
  • Follow and share messages from our social media accounts:
    • Facebook - @FrimleyHealthandCare
    • Twitter - @FrimleyHC