Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Sunday evening (13 December) that the booster vaccination programme is extending this week to all eligible adults aged over 18, NHS staff in Hertfordshire and west Essex have been working around the clock to increase the vaccination opportunities in our area.
This week, thousands more bookable vaccination slots are being added in our area, adding to the 10,000 vaccinations a day which were already being offered. Please check the national booking service website to make an appointment or call 119 if you do not have internet access.
Bookable vaccination slots are already available in more than 30 community pharmacies, with more pharmacies due to join the vaccination effort soon, as well as in large vaccination centres. In addition, GPs are contacting their own patients to call them in to be vaccinated when they are eligible.
Dr Rachel Joyce, said: “To support the policy change announced on Sunday evening, we have been promised significant additional supplies of Moderna and Pfizer, which will be delivered to GP practices, vaccination centres and pharmacies this week.
“However, vaccine supply is not the only issue for the staff rolling-out the vaccination programme. With a target of protecting more people than ever before in a very short time, staffing our clinics with suitably qualified professionals is also a major challenge.
“Work is urgently underway to redeploy additional staff from across the health service into vaccination centres, without affecting other critical NHS services. Please be patient with staff and volunteers who are working hard to get as many people protected as possible.”
“We are keeping walk-in arrangements under review and have temporarily reduced the number of walk-in clinics this week. Walk-in sessions are aimed solely at very local residents. Staff will monitor queues and once the capacity of a vaccination session has been reached, queues will be closed to ensure that everybody already queuing can be vaccinated. If you are planning to attend a walk-in clinic, please wrap up warmly and come prepared for a wait. If waiting will be difficult or uncomfortable for you because of your personal circumstances, please book an appointment instead.”
Dr Joyce added: “GP practices in Hertfordshire and west Essex will also be getting in touch with their own patients to invite them in to be vaccinated. Please take up your offer if you are invited. There’s no need to contact your practice, they will contact you. Calling may prevent someone with more urgent health needs getting through on the phone.
“All General Practices have been asked to clinically prioritise their services to support the vaccination programme, alongside delivering urgent or emergency care and other critical services, such as cancer diagnosis and treatment. That could include pausing routine and non-urgent care and redeploying staff to support the delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations. Please continue to attend your booked appointments – your practice will ring you if they need to make a change. There is no need to ring them. Everyone is working hard to protect their communities and meet the urgent national requirement to deliver the vaccination campaign. Your support and understanding would be hugely appreciated.
“Remember, you will be welcome in a vaccination centre regardless of whether this is your first, second or booster jab. Vaccinations increase your protection against serious illness caused by COVID, and will help to keep you and your loved ones safe this winter.”
- There must be a three-month gap between your second vaccination and your booster jab, otherwise you will not be able to make a booking and staff cannot vaccinate you.
- People aged 18+ who have recently tested positive for COVID-19 must wait for four weeks to have passed after their positive test before having a vaccination.
- People aged between 12 and 18 must wait for 12 weeks after having a positive test before having another vaccination.
Check out your eligibility for a vaccination, see answers to frequently asked questions, or find out how to book your next vaccine on the COVID pages on the Healthier Future website.
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Published: Tuesday 14 December 2021