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 Michele Legg, GP and clinical chair of NHS Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “We are very proud that the island will be part of the vaccine rollout - this is such a hugely positive step forward to help us protect our community from the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19). The vaccine is safe, effective and our best protection against coronavirus.
“While this is an encouraging step, it doesn't mean the impact of the virus is over. It is so important we keep doing all we can to protect ourselves and others by continuing to wash our hands, wear a face covering and make space when out and about.
“We want to ensure the vaccine is being offered first to those most at risk from coronavirus. We will contact you when it is your turn to have the vaccine. Please do bear with us and wait for us to contact you, so we can continue to support our patients.”
Alison Smith, managing director of NHS Isle of Wight CCG, added: “I would like to say a huge thank you to all GP practice teams, our colleagues at the council and hospital trust, and everyone else who have been working together around the clock to bring the vaccine to the island.”
Across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight the first GP-led sites going live with vaccination clinics this week are as follows:
- Carisbrooke Health Centre, IoW
- Fareham Community Hospital
- Hampshire Court Hotel, Basingstoke
- Festival Hall, Petersfield
- St Peters Surgery, Southampton
- New Milton Health Centre
- Bursledon Surgery
- Colden Common Surgery
- Badger Farm Community Centre, Winchester
- Kingston Crescent Surgery, Portsmouth
The latest phase of the vaccine rollout 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.