The first GP surgeries across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are getting ready to start vaccinating patients this week, as the roll out of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history moves into the next phase.
Practices serving patients in all parts of the county will be taking delivery of the vaccine today (Tuesday), with some kicking off their clinics this afternoon and the others starting clinics on Wednesday.
Practices are working together to set up local vaccination centres in surgeries, community centres, and even a hotel.
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.
Like the hospital staff who launched the world-leading campaign last week, practice teams are working rapidly to organise the sites so that safe processes are in place to meet the tough logistical challenges of offering the vaccination.
The NHS will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine. People should not contact their surgeries, the vaccination service is available strictly by invitation only.
Dr Matt Nisbet, GP and Clinical Lead for Business and Partnerships at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Partnership of CCGs, said:
“This is a very big moment for lots of people. For those of us working in surgeries across Hampshire it is a huge task, but also a real privilege to be part of this national effort to protect ourselves from the virus. And for many of the patients we serve, receiving the vaccine will be a giant stride towards being able to live a more normal life again.
“We would love to be able to vaccinate everyone, immediately, but clearly that is not going to be possible. I would urge everyone to be patient – GP surgeries across the county will contact you when we can offer you the vaccine, and we will start with the most vulnerable people first.
“The development of this vaccine, and hopefully others as well, is fantastic news but we must still take care to protect ourselves, and those around us. The NHS will vaccinate people as quickly as we can, but there is still the risky winter period ahead, and it is vital that we all keep up our guard.”
Across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight the first GP led sites going live with vaccination clinics this week are as follows:
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.
The community vaccination sites being set up this week 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.