As the roll out of COVID-19 vaccinations gathers pace across the NHS, our GP led services in Sefton continue to make good progress immunising priority patients.
Working together with the borough’s two clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), GP led services are working hard to vaccinate those most at risk of COVID-19 first – this meant starting in late December with care home staff and residents, people aged over 80 and frontline health and care staff – before moving onto the next priority groups.
As well as operating from local vaccination centres, roving teams of immunisers have been going directly into care homes to vaccinate residents and staff.
Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, explained: “Since December our GP practices have been working together in groups to deliver the vaccinations as quickly as possible to those most at risk by inviting them into a community centre in Sefton to be immunised safely and we’re making good progress.”
Sefton’s GP led services are just one part of the national vaccination programme. A regional vaccination centre has also opened at St Helens rugby league club’s stadium, which is an additional option and some pharmacies in Sefton will also join the national programme by the end of January.
Dr Gillespie continues: “The regional vaccination centre in St Helens is in addition to our local GP led services. We understand it won’t work for everyone and if you do get a letter to go there and can’t travel or don’t want to go there please don’t worry. You will still be contacted by the GP led service to be invited for your vaccine in the centre nearest to you.”
Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Importantly, we are still asking you not to contact your GP practice or another NHS organisation to ask for your vaccination – or to request one for a member of your household or carer.
“We are asking people not to turn up at a regional vaccination centre without an appointment. Our GP led service will be in touch as soon as it can book you in for the vaccine. We are also asking you to stay safe and follow the restrictions in place, even if you have had your first dose of the vaccine which gives you a good level of protection but not the maximum. You may be partially protected but others around you might not be so please remember, hands, space, face.”
If you haven’t already been vaccinated at a GP led service and receive the letter from the national service, providing you can travel to the regional vaccination centre safely, we recommend that you book using the details the letter provides.
If you are unable or don’t want to go to a regional vaccination centre, you can choose to wait and get your vaccination from your nearest GP led service, this might not be at your usual GP practice but details of that will be shared with you when you are contacted.
Some residents may be offered their vaccinations in hospital if they are an inpatient or an outpatient during the vaccine roll out. Hospitals are also vaccinating health and care staff.
This is the biggest vaccination programme the NHS has ever undertaken. It is a huge challenge and the local NHS is working hard to overcome any logistical issues as they may arise. The exact weekly roll-out of the programme will be largely shaped by the vaccine supply from the manufacturers.
You can find out more about the programme here; www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/