West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group has given the following update on the Covid19 vaccination.
The NHS has planned extensively to deliver the largest vaccination programme in our history, providing three different delivery methods so we can cope with any type of vaccine:
- Hospital Hubs – where we know the Pfizer vaccine can be stored safely
- Local Vaccine Services – provided by GPs
- Vaccination Centres – large sites convenient for transport networks.
Now that we have a vaccine that has been confirmed as safe and effective by the MHRA, we can begin to roll it out to those groups who the independent JCVI have decided need it most when the supplies are available to us. We are not at that stage yet – for the reasons explained by the Secretary of State, that could be up to a week for the initial shipment of 800,000 vaccines to be shipped into the country, inspected and signed off by PHE, distributed, defrosted and prepared for use. Delivering the Pfizer vaccine is complex as it needs to be stored at very cold temperatures and moved carefully in batches of 975 doses. For the moment the MHRA haven’t authorised splitting up those doses, so at first we can only deliver it from “Hospital Hubs”. We will be working with local teams over the next few days to establish how best they can safely deliver the vaccine to the most at-risk groups, including over-80s and social care workers, in those hospital hubs when we have the vaccines in place. Over the coming weeks we will be extending deliveries to local vaccination services, and we hope that later this month the MHRA will allow batches to be split, meaning that vaccination teams can go into care homes to vaccinate those who can’t go to other services. As well as at-risk patients we will begin to vaccinate some of our frontline staff from next week. It is important that health and care workers protect themselves so that they are there to care for others – so we would urge colleagues to take it up as soon as they can. This will be a marathon over the coming months, not a sprint, and the NHS will keep expanding the programme as we get more vaccine, and potentially other vaccines come available. The NHS wants to go as fast as all these factors allow and have been recruiting and training more vaccinators and support staff from across the NHS and outside of it, all of whom will be trained, assessed and supervised. The public can really help the NHS deliver this effectively to those who need it most. Our asks are:
- We will contact you when it’s the right time to come forward, so please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine before then;
- Please act on your invite when it comes, and make sure you attend your appointments when you arrange them;
- And of course, please continue to abide by all the social distancing and hand hygiene guidance, which will still save lives.