The NHS in Kent and Medway is urging people who have had a Covid-19 vaccination to continue to stay at home and continue to observe social distancing rules.
The NHS says anyone who has had their first or even second dose of the vaccine should also still wear a face mask where appropriate and continue to wash their hands carefully and frequently.
Paula Wilkins, Chief Nurse at Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are making really good progress with the vaccination roll out and the number of people coming forward to have their Covid vaccine is very encouraging.
“However, it does not provide instant immunity, it won’t protect your loved ones and it won’t solve the pandemic immediately.
“It is vitally important to get the vaccine as we know it prevents serious disease, reduces deaths and will relieve the pressure on the NHS, but unfortunately we don’t yet know if it prevents transmission of the virus. That means people who have been vaccinated could be carrying the virus without having any symptoms and they could pass it on to others.”
In Kent and Medway, vaccinations are being delivered via 55 sites including four large vaccination centres in Gravesend, Folkestone, Tonbridge and Thanet, seven pharmacies, six hospital hubs and 39 GP-led sites.
The NHS is currently offering the Covid-19 vaccine to people aged 65 to 69 and those who are 16 to 64 who have an underlying health condition and are therefore classed as clinically vulnerable. People in these cohorts will be sent a letter inviting them to book a vaccination and should wait to hear from the NHS.
Those aged 70 and over and those on the clinically extremely vulnerable list who have not yet been contacted for a vaccine should book an appointment online at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination. If they cannot access the internet, they can call 119 to book. Patients can also contact their GP but phone lines are likely to be busy.
Paula Wilkins added: “This is the biggest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS and we firmly believe it is the way out of the pandemic but we all need to be patient. Once more of the population has been vaccinated, we can look forward to restrictions being lifted and hopefully meeting up with friends and family but for the time being, we are urging people to continue to follow the government guidance.”
Across the UK, people vaccinated up to and including 22 February:
Second dose: 642,788
In Kent and Medway vaccines given up to 14 February:
- over 80 years 91,232
- 75-79 years 68,799
- 70-74 years 90,242
- under 70 years 180,479
- over 80 years 16,927
- 75-79 years 495
- 70-74 years 252
- under 70 years 7,484
The seven day rolling rate of positive cases in Thanet as of February 18 was 78.9 per 100,000 people. This is far below rates on December 20 which stood at 639 per 100,000 but has crept up slightly from 70.5 two days prior. The rate for England is 122.7.
For more information on the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination in Kent and Medway, visit www.kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk/covid19vaccine.