Hundreds of local vaccination services run by family doctors and their teams will open across England this week, as the roll out of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history gains further momentum.
Practices in more than 100 parts of the country are taking delivery of the vaccine as of Monday, with the majority of national clinics starting on Tuesday including in Lincolnshire.
Groups of health providers including primary care networks and GP practices are setting up local vaccination centres. In Lincolnshire this will begin Tuesday with the opening of community sites in Louth and Grantham.
Nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and other NHS staff will work alongside GPs to vaccinate those aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers and residents, identified as priority groups for the life-saving vaccine.
The NHS will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine.
Dr Dave Baker, GP and South West Lincolnshire Locality Lead, NHS Lincolnshire CCG, said:
“Healthcare professionals are already playing a key role across Lincolnshire in protecting people against coronavirus, and will continue to do so as the vaccination is rolled out to more people over the coming weeks and months.
“This is the greatest vaccination programme ever undertaken by the NHS and, to help vaccinate people safely we will be working with local communities to deliver it in convenient and familiar settings. This is a huge national effort to protect our patients against the virus and I would urge the public to come forward when they are called up for the vaccine.”
The community sites due to launch on Tuesday in Louth and Grantham build on the work of the scores of hospital hubs which have already started vaccinating, with 90-year old Margaret Keenan receiving her first dose to become a global trailblazer in Coventry last Tuesday.
The latest phase of the vaccine roll-out is being co-ordinated by GP-led primary care networks with more practices and community pharmacies in other parts of England joining on a phased basis during December and in the coming months.
Martin Fahy, Director of Nursing and Quality, NHS Lincolnshire CCG, said:
“Our healthcare professionals are about to embark on an enormous challenge, delivering the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the community whilst also delivering the expanded flu vaccine programme and the usual care and services our patients rely on us for.
“There are also logistical challenges but general practice has an excellent track record of delivering mass vaccination programmes, and we want to use this experience to help protect people from Covid-19 and start getting life back to normal again. We won’t be vaccinating everyone all at once – it will be a relatively small number at first – but as long as there is supply, GPs and our teams at selected sites will start vaccinating people this week, starting with our most vulnerable patients.
“Patients will be contacted and invited for vaccination – we would urge them not to contact their practice enquiring about vaccination, we will contact them.”