We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Wiltshire Covid vaccinations - "A Marathon not a Sprint"

December 11, 2020 8:22 AM
By WC (edited)

Now that the first COVID-19 vaccine has been tested and confirmed as safe and effective by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), roll out has started to those groups whom the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have decided need it most.

Who will get the vaccine first?

Vaccination for high risk groups will take place between January and April. The post-Christmas third wave of Covid infection will also take place in January.

Patients aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, will be among the first to receive the jab.

Hospitals have already begun inviting over 80s in for a jab, and working with care home providers to book their staff in to vaccination clinics.
Getting the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to care home residents is challenging because of the requirements for transporting it and the temperature at which it is stored.

All those vaccinated will need a booster jab 21 days later.

How will people know when it is their time to get the vaccine?

They will receive an invitation. For most people this will be a letter, either from their GP or the national NHS. The public are asked not to contact the NHS to until they get this letter.

Where will people get the vaccine?

The NHS is putting in place new delivery channels:

  • Hospital Hubs: NHS trusts will act as hospital hubs where patients and staff can be vaccinated on site. These hubs are where it is known the Pfizer vaccine can be stored safely. There are 50 hubs in the first wave and more hospitals will start vaccinating over the coming weeks and months as vaccine supply increases and the programme ramps up.
  • Local Vaccination Services: Local Vaccination Services will also be available. These community and primary care-led services will vary but will include GP practices, local authority buildings or other local facilities and as vaccine supply increases in the New Year, local pharmacies too.
  • Vaccination Centres: The NHS will also establish vaccination centres, where large numbers of people will be able to go and get a jab. The majority will open in the New Year when supply of the vaccine increases. They are being set up in local venues such as sports stadiums and concert venues that offer the space to deal with large numbers of people while maintaining social distancing.

Delivery from Hospital Hubs and Local Vaccination Services

Although the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the shoulder it is complex to move, store and prepare. It needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain beginning in Belgium. So, starting this week, it will be delivered from "Hospital Hubs".

GPs and other primary care staff are also being activated to start delivering the jab. A small number of GP-led Local Vaccination Services will begin vaccinations during the week beginning 14 December with more practices in more parts of the country joining in on a phased basis during December and in the coming months as vaccine supply allows.

What happens next?

The NHS will offer the vaccine to more groups of people and in more ways, like local vaccination services, but this will be a marathon over the coming months, not a sprint:

  • The programme will keep expanding as more vaccines are received
  • To ensure vaccines can be delivered as quickly as possible, the NHS has been recruiting and training more vaccinators and support staff from across the NHS and outside of it
  • All of these will be trained, assessed and supervised, just like regular NHS vaccinators

To help the NHS:

    • They will contact you when it's the right time to come forward so please don't seek a vaccine before then;
    • Please act on your invite and make sure you attend your appointments when you arrange them;
    • Continue to abide by all the social distancing and hygiene guidance.