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Wirral COVID-19 vaccine updates

People aged 70 and over who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID and who would like to be are today being asked to contact the NHS to arrange a jab.

Until now the NHS has asked people to wait until they are contacted to help ensure that those who are most vulnerable are protected first - and that remains the case for most people.

However, to ensure absolutely everyone is offered the vaccine, people aged 70 and over can now contact the NHS so they can be vaccinated by the middle of this month. 

The easiest way for people in Wirral to arrange an appointment at their local vaccination centre is by contacting their own GP practice or emailing NHS Wirral CCG at WICCG.InTouch@NHS.net

Many who have not yet booked an appointment are already receiving follow up letters and phone calls this week to encourage them to take up the offer of a jab.

For further information including other ways to book an appointment, please visit https://www.wirralccg.nhs.uk/news/call-for-people-aged-70-and-over-to-contact-nhs-for-a-covid-jab/

The vaccination programme in Wirral is being rolled out in line with national guidance.

All of our vaccination sites are currently prioritising vaccinating residents in groups 1 & 2 who are over 80 years of age, including care home residents and staff.

All sites are now offering vaccinations to people in groups 3 & 4 which include those over 70 years of age and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.

Wirral is on track to offer vaccinations to all people in groups 1 – 4 by 15 February 2021.

The vaccination programme will take some time to work through so please don’t be worried if you or a family member is over 70 but hasn’t heard anything so far. You might know others over 70 who have been invited for their vaccination already, but that does not mean that you or your relatives are a lower priority. The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. Please do not contact your GP practice before then.

Groups of GP practices in Wirral along with Wirral University Teaching Hospital have started to deliver the Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine to priority groups. The order by which people are vaccinated is determined by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The initial part of the programme will prioritise groups 1 – 4 in order as determined by the JCVI, these are as follows:

Priority Group 1 - Residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults
Priority Group 2 – All those aged 80 years and over and frontline Health and Care Workers
Priority Group 3 – All those aged 75 years of age and over
Priority Group 4 – All those aged 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals (not including pregnant women and those under 16 years of age)

A summary of the vaccination programme and definitions of those who are included in priority groups 1-4 can be found in the COVID-19 Green Book Chapter 14
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/948757/Greenbook_chapter_14a_v4.pdf

The initial weeks of the vaccination programme have used the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, this has to be stored at ultra-low temperatures (-70C) prior to use. This, along with limited initial supplies have meant that priority has been given to those in groups 1 and 2 and who are able to attend a vaccination centre. The majority of vaccinations to date have been given to people 80 years and over.

The recent approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine means that more people in groups 1 – 4 can be offered their first dose of a vaccine and our aim is to have invited eligible groups for this first dose by 15/2/21. However, this may be subject change due to the supply and availability of the vaccines and any change in national guidance.

The vaccination programme will take some time to work through so people should not be worried if they or a family member is over 80 but hasn’t heard anything so far. They might know others over 80 who have been invited for their vaccination already, but that doesn’t mean that they are a lower priority. GPs and other practice staff are working hard to vaccinate as many people in this group as quickly as possible, and during January more people will be invited in, but it is only the start of the vaccination programme and it will take some time to work through everyone.

 

2nd dose of Pfizer/Biontech COVID-19 Vaccine

Further to the stakeholder briefing issued by NHS Wirral CCG on Friday 8th January 2021, a policy directive has been issued by NHS England on Sunday 10th January 2021. This states that any planned 2nd doses of the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine booked prior to 31st December 2020 will be cancelled with the available vaccine being given to those in the initial Priority Groups 1 & 2 who have not yet received a first dose of vaccine.

Any appointments booked for today, 11th January will go ahead as planned (where logistical difficulties make it impossible to cancel these patients at short notice) and those patients impacted by the cancellations will be contacted to rearrange their appointment in line with the national policy issued on 31st December 2020.

Support is being provided to Primary Care Networks to contact patients impacted by this change.

This change will result in more people in Priority Groups 1 and 2 receiving a first dose of vaccination and therefore more people in these groups will have a level of protection sooner than planned.

 

You don’t need to contact your GP practice or another NHS organisation to ask for your vaccination – or to request one for a member of your family – you will be invited when it is time for you to be vaccinated, either with a letter or a phone call.