Hertsmere residents aged 80 and over, health and social care workers and people living and working in care homes will start to receive their first Covid-19 immunisation from this week onwards as a vaccination centre based at Allum Hall in Elstree opens on Thursday.
It is the latest in a series of GP-led local vaccination centres to open in west Hertfordshire, with thousands people in priority groups across the area having received their first dose of the vaccine in recent weeks.
The NHS is prioritising those the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and government has decided will benefit the most. GP practices are working through their patient lists and people will be contacted when it is their turn to be vaccinated.
Vaccinating all those in the priority groups will take some time and with a new, more infectious strain of the virus in circulation the NHS is asking everyone to assist the vaccination programme by:
· waiting to be contacted by your GP to book an appointment rather than contacting your GP or the Allum Hall vaccination centre – you will be invited when it is your turn. Remember the NHS will never ask you to pay for a COVID-19 vaccination
· attending both appointments
· continuing to follow all the ‘stay at home’ and other guidance to protect the NHS and save lives.
Dr Alex Byrne, GP at Shopwick Surgery and Chair of Herts Health GP Federation and one of the organisers of the Allum Hall site, said: “General Practices across Hertsmere are working together to offer a community-based Covid-19 vaccination service. We have been working tirelessly to get all the elements in place, from fridges to parking signs, to ensure we have got a safe and efficient system for vaccinating patients. It has taken a huge team effort involving not only our practice and other NHS staff, but also Hertsmere Borough and Hertfordshire County Councils, Allum Hall trustees, voluntary agencies, the fire service, local police, local schools and supermarkets. All of this has been done whilst maintaining our usual GP services, which are still continuing.
Dr Kate Page, GP at Fairbrook Medical Centre and Herts Valleys CCG Locality Chair for Hertsmere said: “We will be inviting patients in to receive their vaccine, following a strict eligibility list. You can help us with rolling out the vaccine by waiting to be contacted by us and not ringing to ask for a vaccination appointment. Don’t worry – we will be getting in touch with all eligible patients.
“Together, our teams at the local GP-led centres bring years of experience and knowledge delivering vaccination programmes. The entire medical profession is very excited to see the roll-out of this safe and effective vaccine to protect our patients.”
Dr Jane Halpin, Chief Executive of our area’s three Clinical Commissioning Groups said: “The amount of work that has gone into preparing for the biggest ever vaccination programme in the history of the NHS cannot be overestimated. The work undertaken to bring the vaccine into our communities in a safe and secure way has been simply remarkable.”
Everyone who is vaccinated will need a booster jab. It takes a few weeks after getting the second dose for the person’s antibodies to reach their optimum level.
For more information go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/