The first local community COVID-19 vaccination services run by family doctors and their teams opened in north east London this week, as the roll-out of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history gains further momentum.
Several GP practices in Barking and Dagenham, City and Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest have taken delivery of the vaccine and started COVID-19 vaccination clinics from Tuesday, 15 December.
Nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and other NHS staff are working alongside GPs to vaccinate those aged 80 and over, and care home workers and residents – the first priority groups identified to receive the life-saving vaccine.
Practice teams have been working rapidly to redesign their sites and put in place safe processes to meet the tough logistical challenges of offering the vaccination.
The NHS will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine. People are urged not to contact the NHS to ask about vaccination in the meantime.
Dr Mark Rickets, Chair of NHS City and Hackney Commissioning Group (CCG) and clinical lead for primary care for north east London CCGs, said: “This is another important and significant step in our battle against coronavirus, and I am delighted that we are now able to start delivering the COVID-19 vaccine those who need it most in our local communities.
“Our practices have been working round the clock to ensure we were in a position to open as many sites as possible and plans are well under way to expand the number of locations offering the vaccine in the community over the coming days and weeks.
““We understand there is a great deal of interest in the COVID-19 vaccine and people are keen to understand when they will be able to access it but we would urge them not to contact their practice enquiring about vaccination. You will be contacted individually and will receive an invitation letter when the vaccine becomes available to you.
“If you require urgent medical advice or are unsure of where you should go for treatment, don’t hesitate to call 111 – they are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can help you. For general medical advice, please contact your registered GP when open.”
Remember, COVID-19 is a devastating disease. Please, for your family, friends, for yourself and for the NHS:
- Hands. Face. Space. Ventilate.
- Avoid close, enclosed, crowded spaces
- Self-isolate and get tested if symptomatic
- Follow the Tier guidelines
For further information about the COVID-19 vaccine visit www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine .