Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Last updated: 17 February 2021

COVID-19 vaccination

The first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine has now been offered to people in the top four priority groups in west Essex.

The priority groups are agreed by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. As the weeks and months go on, more people from other priority groups will be invited for their first dose. If you had your first dose earlier this year, you will also be invited for a second in the weeks ahead. 

You have an important part to play in helping the NHS deliver the vaccine in a safe and effective way.

  • Unless you are over 70 or on the Shielded Patient List, please don't contact the NHS to seek a vaccine. We will contact you when it is the right time;
  • When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments at exactly the time you're asked to, so that we can avoid queues
  • Continue to follow all the national COVID guidance

It is really important to:

  • continue washing your hands regularly and thoroughly
  • wear a face covering
  • keep a safe distance apart from people even after having your vaccination.

It will take some weeks to invite all those in the priority groups to have their vaccination.

If you receive an invitation to have your vaccine, you may need your NHS number to book. You can find your NHS number on the NHS website.

When you have booked your appointment, you may want to know more about what the vaccine means for you and what to expect after your vaccination.

If you are a frontline healthcare worker who is offered a COVID-19 vaccination read about how the vaccine will help protect you during the course of your work. There is also some information for social care workers who are invited to have their vaccination.

If you are pregnant, breastfeeding or planning a pregnancy, you may find this leaflet useful.

View photos of residents receiving their first COVID-19 immunisation at vaccination centres across west Essex.

More information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme

You can find more information about COVID-19, the vaccination programme,testimonials from people who have had the vaccine, volunteering opportunities and self-care on the Hertfordshire and West Essex Healthier Future website and the Essex-wide Essex COVID-19 vaccination website.

COVID-19 vaccination data

Find national statistics on the number of COVID-19 vaccinations on the NHS England website.

COVID-19 vaccination consent forms

If you are going to have your COVID-19 vaccination, please complete, print and take the relevant consent form with you to your appointment.

The Why do I have to wait for my COVID-19 vaccination leaflet explains why you may not get the vaccine straight away, even if you are in a priority group. Please be assured you will be called in as soon as there is enough vaccine available.  

More information on the vaccine is also available on the NHS.UK website.

Information in different formats and languages

Information about the COVID vaccination will be available in alternative formats shortly.

Please be aware that scam text messages have been circulating. If you receive a text message from a vaccination centre asking you to make a payment to book a vaccination, please do not share your information and delete the text message. The NHS does not ask for payment for services and the COVID-19 vaccination programme that is being  rolled out is free to patients.

Getting tested for COVID-19

Find out where you can get tested and who is eligible by visiting the Essex County Council website.

We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:

  • stay at home as much as possible
  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people
  • keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • wash your hands regularly

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has the following symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of smell or taste (anosmia)

Read more about what you can and can't do.

Help us help you get the treatment you need

 While we are being asked to stay at home to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus, it can be difficult to know what to do if you feel unwell or are concerned about specific symptoms such as cancer, heart attack or stroke.

Please know the NHS is still here to help you get the care and treatment you need, when you need it. You can:

  • contact you GP practice online, via an app or by phone to be assessed
  • visit the NHS 111 online service or call 111, and call 111 if you are worried about the health of your baby or child
  • dial 999 immediately if it is a serious or life-threatening emergency for you, an adult or child

You should go to hospital if you are told to and attend appointments unless you have been told not to.

You can still order repeat prescriptions on the NHS App and through your GP practice or pharmacy’s online service, where available.

For more information, check out Health at home: how to access NHS services online.

Managing your health at home

The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means you should only leave your home if it's essential, unless you feel very unwell or you are told to attend an existing appointment for ongoing treatment. While you are at home it's still easy to get NHS help using your smartphone, tablet or computer. The Health at Home webpage has information letting you know how to: 

  • contact your GP 
  • order repeat prescriptions
  • manage long-term conditions
  • maintain your mental and physical wellbeing

If you need an NHS service, try to do it online first. If you cannot get what you need this way try asking a friend or family member to help you, or speak to your GP surgery on the phone.

Find out more at: nhs.uk/health-at-home

Support for those in high-risk groups

If you have been identified as being in a high-risk group, and are shielding, you may be eligible to receive support to help with food and essential supplies. 

For more information, please contact the Essex Welfare Service by completing their online form. If you don’t have online access, please call 0300 303 9988

Medicines information

Routine vaccinations

If you or your child is due their routine vaccinations it is important they are still carried out. Routine vaccinations protect against serious and potentially deadly illnesses and stop outbreaks in the community. 

Read why vaccination is safe and important.

If the person needing vaccination has coronavirus symptoms or is self-isolating because someone in the household is displaying symptoms, please contact your GP practice for advice. 

Mental health support

If you are feeling anxious or stressed at this time, the Every Mind Matters website has developed some helpful tips on coping with lockdown.

North Essex IAPT provides access to a wide range of talking therapy treatments for adults with common mental health problems including:

  • low mood
  • stress
  • anxiety and depression.

Learn more about the free support available in west Essex in the Healthy Minds: working together to improve mental health news story.

Domestic violence 

If you are experiencing domestic abuse then there is support for you. You are not alone. At home shouldn’t mean at risk and if this is you then isolation rules do not apply.

Police response and support services remain available. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, dial 999.

For more information, visit the GOV.UK website.

General information

Visit the NHS website to get the most up-to-date information and guidance on:

  • symptoms
  • how to look after yourself and others
  • self-isolation and social distancing

Learn about the government response to coronavirus on GOV.UK.

For information on routine outpatient appointments and in-patient visiting hours at our local hospitals please visit: