GP practices in Suffolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire start Covid-19 vaccination programme
Vaccination centres run by family doctors and their teams will open this week, with some jabs being given out today, as the roll out of the biggest vaccination programmes in NHS history steps up a gear.
The local roll-out is part of the wider national vaccination programme, with GP practices in more than 100 parts of the country taking delivery of the vaccine, with the majority of clinics starting today.
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.
Residents of care homes locally and across the country will also receive their first vaccine later this week after distributors finalise new, stringent processes to ensure safe delivery of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Like hospital staff, who launched the world-leading campaign last week, practice teams are working rapidly to redesign their sites and put in place safe processes 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, and people are urged not to contact their practice asking when they can receive the vaccination. You will be contacted when it is your turn.
Five vaccination centres are set to open in east and west Suffolk, as well as north east Essex later this week.
Dr Ed Garratt, chief executive of NHS Ipswich and East Suffolk, NHS West Suffolk and NHS North East Essex clinical commissioning groups, said: “This is an important moment in the fight against Covid-19 and I hope a turning point in getting our lives back to normal.
“We must be realistic though and accept that there are some huge logistical challenges in delivering this vaccination programme, which is the biggest in the history of the NHS.
“However, across Suffolk and north east Essex we have an incredible team of NHS staff who will be doing their very best to vaccinate people safely, and I want to thank them for what they are doing.
“Patients will be contacted and invited for vaccination – we would urge them not to contact their practice enquiring about vaccination, we will contact them."
And GP surgeries just outside Newmarket are set to give out the jab today.
Practices in Soham, Burwell and Ely are have started their inoculation campaigns as part of Cambridgeshire's fight against the disease.
Dr Anthony Gunstone, a GP at Staploe Medical Centre in Soham said: “We are delighted to support the biggest and most highly anticipated national immunisation campaign in history by vaccinating and protecting our vulnerable local residents against Covid-19. We are working hard with other local GP practices, getting ready to deliver the vaccinations to those most at risk from Covid-19."
He said practices remained open and people with medical concerns should contact GPs as usual.