Covid-19 vaccination programme Updates

We are delighted to have been able to deliver the first dose of the covid-19  vaccine to so many of our patients in recent weeks. The vaccination centre at Maxted Road Vaccination Centre has worked really well and we are continuing to bring patients in for their vaccine – particularly focussing on those who are clinically at risk, and also our unpaid carers. We have also started to invite our more elderly patients in for their second dose.

There are some weeks when we are not receiving as much supply of the vaccine as we would like, and we know this has led to some frustration and concern. We do liaise with our colleagues in the NHS locally to try to  get more vaccine stock into our centre, but the supplies are controlled nationally and this means we can’t always offer as many vaccine appointments as we want to.  If you or someone you care for is eligible for a vaccination and is very concerned about waiting to be vaccinated, you can alternatively try to book online at  www.nhs.uk/book-coronavirus-vaccination  or dial 119 to see if an alternative nearby vaccination centre has any appointments.

We are expecting the supply to increase considerably from the middle of March so we hope to be able to call in many more people after that – for their first and their second doses, and in line with national guidance about priority groups. Please be assured that nobody who is due a second dose will have to wait longer than 12 weeks for it.

For more information on the vaccine programme in this area, you visit: www.healthierfuture.org.uk/covid

Thank you for your understanding.

Vaccinations for people with learning disabilities and their Carers

The local NHS plans to vaccinate all adults (aged 16 and over) with a learning disability and their Carers by the end of February.

Our surgery is contacting people with learning disabilities and/or their Carers on their behalf, to arrange an appointment to have their first COVID-19 vaccine. If you have not been contacted and believe you should be registered with us as having a learning disability, please contact the practice to discuss this.

Family Carers of adults with a learning disability are also eligible for a vaccine. This can be arranged at the same time as booking the appointment for the person with learning disabilities.

There is more information on vaccinations for people with learning disabilities and their Carers on this NHS website.

Vaccinations for people aged 16-65 with specified underlying health conditions

Vaccinations are now being offered to people aged 16-65 with specified underlying health conditions, sometimes called ‘clinically at risk’. If you have one of the identified health conditions you will be contacted through your GP practice soon to book your first vaccination.

The list of conditions included in this list has been decided nationally by the joint committee on vaccinations and immunisations (JCVI). This is based on your risk of suffering serious illness if you get coronavirus – it is not about how unwell you are, or how your condition or illness affects your daily life.

The list of conditions and treatments is set nationally and tightly defined and it is:

We have to follow this JCVI guidance when we vaccinate our patients and cannot move you onto the list of people with underlying health conditions unless there has been a mistake in your medical records.

Vaccinations for eligible 16 and 17 year olds

Note that if you are aged 16 or 17 and qualify for a vaccine because you have a learning disability, are a front-line health or social care worker, or have a specified underlying health condition, you will be offered the Pfizer vaccine, because this is the only vaccine that is currently licenced for people of your age. We will contact you to make these arrangements.

Vaccinations for Carers

If you are aged 16 and over and support an adult who is at high risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 and with whom you have close personal or face to face contact, you should now get your vaccination. Carers of children are not included in this phase, apart from Carers of children who have serious neuro-disabilities and other complications.

You don’t need to wait to be contacted if you are registered to receive a Carer’s Allowance. You can book an appointment now via the national booking service on the NHS website.

The national booking service allows you to arrange an appointment at a vaccination centre or community pharmacy-led service. Call 119 if you don’t have the internet. You can choose a time slot and location that suits you.

If it isn’t possible for you to attend any of the vaccination centres offered through the national booking service, then wait for us to contact you, and we will offer you an appointment at our GP-led vaccination centre instead.

If you do not receive Carer’s Allowance, but you are registered with us at your GP practice as an unpaid Carer, we will contact you to arrange your vaccination at our GP-led vaccination centre.

If you consider that you are a Carer for someone who is at high risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19 and with whom you have close personal or face to face contact, but you do not receive Carers Allowance and are not registered here at the practice as a Carer, please complete our online Register as a Carer form or call us on 01442 250 117 so that we can talk this through with you.

The NHS is working closely with social care services colleagues and organisations that represent Carers to put in place arrangements to offer the vaccine as soon as possible to other Carers who will be eligible to receive a vaccine but don’t meet the current criteria in terms of the two categories mentioned above. . For example, if you are known to be a Carer by social services or Carers in Herts, you will be contacted directly by the NHS in the coming weeks. For other Carers who are not known by social services or other organisations, we will provide information for you and share this as widely as possible – do look out for more information.

Shielding programme extended

The government has extended the national shielding programme to protect an additional 1.7 million people nationally. This follows evidence that some people are now known to be at a higher risk of developing serious illness from COVID-19 due to a combination of personal and health risk factors such as age, gender, ethnicity and weight (BMI).

Thousands of Hertfordshire and west Essex residents who are under 70 are now receiving shielding letters. This group of patients will be prioritised for a COVID-19 vaccination. You will hear from the practice in the coming days about booking your first appointment. If you have already received a shielding letter, you can book an appointment now through the national booking service on the NHS website which will allow you to arrange an appointment at one of the vaccination centres or community pharmacy sites.

The county council and partner organisations are continuing to support residents who request support via the National Shielding Support Service (NSSS) website. This can help with:

HertsHelp are also continuing to support users who do not have access to online services or are in urgent need of support. You can contact HertsHelp direct seven days a week on 0300 1234 044 or info@hertshelp.net.

 

FAQs

Question: How will we be invited for an appointment.

Answer: Text message, or a phone call for those who don’t have mobile phones.

Question: Do I have to go to the Stevenage vaccination site?

Answer: No, it is your choice, you can wait to be called by your GP to attend the Hemel Hempstead vaccination centre.

Question: Where will we be getting the vaccine?

Answer: One Central Site in Dacorum.

Question: When do I need to contact the surgery to make an appointment?

Answer: Do not contact the surgery, we will contact you

Question: What are the priority groups for vaccinations?

Answer: www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-30-december-2020