The NHS will begin vaccinating patients against coronavirus at hospital hubs from this week, at the start of the biggest immunisation programme in history.
Yesterday, 6th Dec,, NHS England/Improvement announced the first 50 hospital hubs across the country to receive supplies of the vaccine. In Surrey Heartlands the Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust has been named in this first tranche, and staff have been working through the weekend to prepare for the launch of the programme with the first vaccinations this week.
As identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) people aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, will be among the first to receive the vaccination. Hospitals will also work with care home providers to book their staff in to attend vaccination clinics.
Any appointments not used for these groups will be used for healthcare workers who are at highest risk of serious illness from covid.
More hospitals will start vaccinating over the coming weeks and months as the programme ramps up. GPs and other primary care staff are also being put on standby, from mid December, to start delivering the vaccine from community vaccination sites. The precise locations of these are still being agreed.
Vaccination centres treating large numbers of patients will subsequently stand up when further supplies of vaccine come on stream.
The Covid-19 vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder but there are complexities with the Pfizer vaccine being used which needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out, and can only be moved four times within that cold chain before being used.
In line with national recommendations it should be noted that pregnant women cannot receive the vaccination. In addition, women of childbearing age should be advised to avoid pregnancy for at least 2 months after their second dose. There are also specific clinical recommendations for those who have known underlying health conditions and assessment will form part of the vaccination programme.
People will be required to receive two doses of the vaccine at least 21 days apart.
We are asking the public to help the NHS by being patient. Those who are eligible for the vaccine will be contacted in due course as the programme continues and your help in sharing this message would be hugely appreciated. The local NHS is working with partners across Surrey Heartlands and will continue to roll-out the vaccination programme over the coming weeks and months, supported by a robust communications plan which will start imminently.
If you have any queries please email: [email protected]