Thanks to the efforts of hundreds of GPs, nurses, vaccinators, administrators, marshals and volunteers, the Somerset COVID-19 vaccination programme has offered a first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to the most vulnerable residents in across Somerset.
Across the UK, figures released show that 15 million people have been vaccinated. In Somerset the latest published figures show that 146,379 vaccination doses were delivered up until 7 February with further vaccinations being given in the following week.
Andy Heron, joint senior responsible officer for the Somerset programme, said: “We have offered vaccinations to those aged 80 and over, those aged between 75 – 79, those aged between 70 – 74, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, eligible residents of care homes for older adults and frontline health and social care colleagues in Somerset. We have had a very high take up in those groups with tens of thousands in each group choosing to protect themselves from serious illness from COVID-19 by taking up the offer of a vaccination.
“We are turning our attention to the next groups that we are now inviting forward for a vaccination, but first I want to pay tribute to and thank the thousands of people in Somerset who have made this possible. Colleagues in GP practices, colleagues from Yeovil District Hospital, from Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, from Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group, from Somerset County Council, and hundreds of volunteers stepped forward to support the vaccination programme, and we would not have been able to do it without them.”
Vaccinations have now opened up to people in the next two priority groups. They are those aged 65 – 69 (group 5) and those aged 16 – 65 who have specific underlying health conditions (group 6) as identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation that increases their risk of serious illness from COVID-19. At the same time, we are also inviting anyone from the first four priority groups who still wants to get their vaccination, to book an appointment.
In Somerset, we are inviting those aged over 65 to book an appointment at a large vaccination centre (at Taunton Racecourse or the Bath & West Showground) or a pharmacy-led hub in the county, situated in Taunton, Yeovil or Bruton. GP practices will contact those who have been identified with a specific underlying health condition, to invite them to book at a GP-led hub.
Karen Prosser, director for the Somerset COVID-19 vaccination programme, said: “We are looking at how we work as efficiently as possible in Somerset so that we can vaccinate this group of people as quickly as possible.
“We are therefore inviting those aged 65 – 69 to book an appointment at either of our large vaccination centres or our pharmacy-led sites via the national booking service or by ringing 119 if they cannot get online.
“Our GP-led primary care network (PCN) hubs are inviting those in Priority Group six, with underlying health conditions to book a vaccination appointment at a GP-led hub. PCN teams are working through their lists of patients to identify those in this group and invite them to book an appointment as quickly as they can.
“You can help us by please not contacting your GP surgery. They will contact you directly as they work through their lists of patients.”
“We are also asking people to please not call any of our vaccination sites, or come to them without an appointment. We understand how anxious people are to receive a vaccination but it is important that we work through the priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation systematically and run our sites efficiently so that we can vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible.”
For more information on the NHS vaccination in Somerset please visit: https://www.somersetccg.nhs.uk/health/local-services/health-services-during-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccinations-in-somerset/
For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/
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