NHS staff will begin vaccinating people aged 65 to 69 and those who are clinically vulnerable against Covid from tomorrow (Monday) with over one million people already invited to book a jab.
Almost 1.2 million letters were due to land on doorsteps by yesterday (Saturday) asking people to log on to the national booking service at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination with another 1.2 million due to arrive this week.
Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.
In the next phase, which begins tomorrow, GP led vaccination sites will focus initially on the clinically vulnerable from cohort 6 because of the relationship between general practice and those with long term conditions, and continuity of care.
Anyone aged 65 to 69 who would rather wait to be called by their local GP vaccination service does not need to respond to their invitation letter.
The NHS has vaccinated more than 12 million people in the first four priority groups, which included those aged 70 and over, care home residents and staff, the extremely clinically vulnerable and NHS staff.
There are three large scale vaccination centres in Kent and Medway – at Folkestone, Gravesend and Tonbridge. Last month the Kent & Medway Clinical Commissioning Group revealed a large scale site would also open in Thanet. This was earmarked for the end of this month (February).
County councillor Karen Constantine has today (February 14) written to Accountable Officer for NHS Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group Wilf Williams to ask for reassurance over the plans,
She said: “We still have many thousands to vaccinate, and to vaccinate twice. I would like an outline of how capacity will be met and managed.”
Although no other official announcements have been made as yet, The Isle of Thanet News understands the centre will be at the former Saga building in Westwood with doors opening on February 22. The CCG has been asked for confirmation.
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “After a strong start the NHS vaccination programme, the biggest and fastest in Europe, is entering a new phase tomorrow.
“Thanks to the hard work of staff the NHS has protected more than 12 million of the most vulnerable people against Covid people in a matter of weeks.
“This is an exciting moment as we now move on to those aged 65 and over and the clinically vulnerable as part of our plan to vaccinate as many people as possible who can benefit from it.
“However, if you have already been offered a jab but have not taken it up it is not too late. Please come forward and help us to help you.”
People who book into a vaccine centre will be greeted by volunteers who will marshal car parks and register them when they arrive.
They will receive a health status check and a pre-vaccination assessment before they have their jab.
Appointments are staggered to allow for social distancing and people who do book are being asked not to turn up early to avoid creating queues.
GPs are contacting those who are housebound to jab them at home.
Clinically vulnerable people as those with:
- chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis and severe asthma
- chronic heart disease (and vascular disease)
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease
- chronic neurological disease including epilepsy
- Down’s syndrome
- severe and profound learning disability
- solid organ, bone marrow and stem cell transplant recipients
- people with specific cancers
- immunosuppression due to disease or treatment
- asplenia and splenic dysfunction
- morbid obesity
- severe mental illness