A large vaccination programme is underway in St Peter’s today (January 19) as GPs from the Mocketts Wood and Margate hub of surgeries make sure vulnerable patients get their jab.
The programme is for patients of Mocketts Wood, The Limes, Northdown and Bethesda surgeries and staff from all four sites are involved in today’s effort taking place at St Peter’s Church Hall.
Heading up the vaccinations are Dr Ganapathi Subbiah, from the Limes, Dr Mo Sohail, from Bethesda, Dr Ash Peshen from Northdown and Dr Venkat Reddy from Mocketts Wood. They are joined by practice managers, nurses, pharmacists and admin staff from across the four surgeries as well as volunteers for marshalling and other tasks.
The team are vaccinating 1,200 people aged 80 and over today with the Pfizer /BioNTech vaccine and expect to vaccinate a further 2,200 people aged 70 and over on Saturday with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
Dr Peshen said: “With Pfizer vaccinations we are getting patients to sit down for 15 minutes after their jab. This is because (nationally) there were some reactions to Pfizer’s vaccine so the government requested the 15 minutes although we have not had any problems and most GPs here have had the Pfizer jab and been happy with it.
“We do not need to do this with AstraZeneca and so we will be able to do 2,200 on Saturday.”
Public Health England advice is that individuals are observed for a minimum of 15 minutes following administration of the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. There is no requirement for 15 minutes observation following the AstraZeneca vaccine.
However, as fainting can occur following vaccination, all those vaccinated with either COVID-19 vaccine should either be driven by someone else or should not drive for 15 minutes after vaccination.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is arriving on Thursday and Friday this week ready for ‘super surgery’ on Saturday.
The hub for the four GPs has vaccinated all residents and staff in all 19 of the care homes on its patch and was among the first seven sites in the country to do so.
The four sites have 55,000 patients of all ages combined and 10% of these, 5,500, will have had their jab by the end of the Saturday vaccinations.
Each patient has their details checked electronically via a national grid of information – taking about three minutes – before receiving the jab.
Staff in one room in the St Peters Church Hall busily prepare the vaccines which are then taken through to the main hall where they are then given to those waiting.
Dr Peshen said: “We were the first site here to go live in the first wave on December 14 and one of the first to get care homes done. We got off the ground very quickly.”
The team say they are vaccinating around 100 patients an hour for those receiving the Pfizer dose – and anticipate that process speeding up to 180 per hour with the AstraZeneca doses.
Dr Sabbiah said: “All the surgeries have come together and are working together. It is a time for the whole community to get together and get this done.”
Dr Peshen added: “It is such a coming together of the community. There has been so much positivity and people see there is light at the end of the tunnel. I have never received so many virtual hugs before!
“People are so grateful to get the vaccination. We have staff working their weekends and there are so many people helping, even young people, everyone has given so much time.”
This month the vaccine developed by Moderna became the third to be approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The Pfizer vaccine has to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius. Moderna has said that its vaccine needs to be frozen too, at minus 20 Celsius.
The AstraZeneca vaccine can be stored and transported at normal refrigerated temperature.
There will be a delay in delivery of the Pfizer vaccine while the firm upgrades manufacturing facilities.
This will temporarily impact shipments in late January to early February but there will be a significant increase in doses available for patients in late February and March.
A total of 1000 Covid vaccines were administered at Minster GP surgery on January 16 to patients aged over 80 from across Westgate Surgery, Minster Surgery, St Peter’s Surgery, Birchington Medical Practice, Broadstairs Medical Practice and Ash Surgery.
A message from Birchington Medical Practice says the GP hub is currently working through care home residents, those 80 years and over and healthcare workers.
As of this Thursday arrangements were being made at Minster to start making appointments for the next groups on the list, including those aged 75 and over.
There will be another vaccine clinic on Friday (January 22) at the surgery. This will be between 12pm -6pm and be for Minster surgery patients only .
The vaccination programme in Ramsgate is being run at Montefiore Medical Centre collaboratively with East Cliff, The Grange, Dashwood, Newington and Summerhill.
The Centre says the service will be impacted by the availability of vaccines and the collective ability to staff the clinics but “rest assured we are all committed to deliver this programme as quickly and safely as possible to allow all of lives to return to a new sense of normal.”
There is currently a significant staff shortage at The Grange – one of the practices within Montefiore surgery. It is understood a number of staff are self-isolating.
North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale says he has raised concerned over a shortage of vaccine supply.
He said: “I am gravely concerned by the shortage of the supply of Covid 19 Vaccine to local Primary Care Networks in Kent. It seems to me that to open large new centres that have to be supplied with vaccines and to promise to offer accelerated vaccinations to those over 70 while at the same time NHS staff and hundreds of 80 and 90 year olds remain untreated is sheer folly..
“We have a good programme that is starting to deliver impressive results but once again we are in danger over- promising and under- achieving – completely unnecessarily. We need to stick to our schedule and our priorities, make sure that existing outlets are adequately supplied and not try to get ahead of the game in some areas at the expense of others.
“I have been in personal contact with the Secretary of State for Health this morning and he has assured me that the matter is receiving immediate attention.”
Positive covid rates per 100,000 people have again been falling in Thanet, from 807.5 on January 9 to 485 yesterday (rolling 7 day rates have a 6 day time lag meaning yesterday’s figure was for week ending January 13).
The government data dashboard information yesterday showed 71 new positive tests recorded, making 793 in the last seven days – a drop of 20% on the preceding seven days. A total of 9,650 positive tests have been recorded for Thanet,
Eleven deaths within 28 days of a positive test were recorded making 45 in the last seven days and a total recorded for Thanet of 321 as of January 17.
Data for East Kent Hospitals shows 397 patients in Margate, Ashford and Canterbury hospitals with covid as of January 12 with 29 people on mechanical ventilation.