The NHS in England has begun the biggest and most highly anticipated immunisation campaign in history.
Following extensive trials, the first safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in the UK and is now available to priority groups.
Local vaccine delivery
Following extensive trials, two safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19 have been approved by regulators and are now available.
Vaccines are now being delivered in hundreds of hospital hubs, local vaccination services and care homes. The NHS is continuing to prioritise those the JCVI and government has decided will benefit the most – specifically over-80s, care home residents and staff.
Vaccinations began rolling out in West Lancashire in December 2020 in dedicated vaccination hubs. The rollout now further continues across many community settings. These vaccinations may not take place at a person’s regular GP practice, but rather another local vaccination site (led by GPs, practice nurses and community pharmacists) who are responsible for delivering the vaccine to people in communities.
When it is the right time for someone to receive their vaccination, they will receive an invitation to come forward. This may be via the phone, or through a letter either from their GP or the national booking system.
We know lots of people will be eager to get protected but we are asking you not to contact the NHS to get an appointment as you will not be able to get one until you are contacted.
The following groups are currently being prioritised:
- people aged 80 and over
- people who live or work in care homes
- health care workers at high risk
The vaccine will be offered more widely, and at other locations, as soon as possible.
Vaccination centres treating large numbers of patients in sporting venues and conference centres will subsequently stand up when further supplies of vaccine come on stream.
Information on the vaccine is available at Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine – NHS (www.nhs.uk).
Delaying the Second Dose
Due to new advice from the UK Chief Medical Officers, healthcare organisations in Lancashire and South Cumbria are writing to those who have received their first dose of coronavirus vaccination to inform them that we need to reschedule their second vaccination appointment. The new medical advice is that the second dose of the vaccine remains effective when given up to 12 weeks after the first dose, and should be given towards the end of this 12 week period.
All second doses of the COVID vaccine that were scheduled to take place in any setting in Lancashire and South Cumbria will be re-scheduled to take place at a suitable time either 10 or 11 weeks after their first vaccination. This will make sure the second dose is given to patients within 12 weeks of the first dose.
While you will need two doses of the vaccine to get the best long-term protection from the virus, you will still have a high level of protection after you received the first dose. The new guidance will also help ensure that as many people as possible benefit from the first dose of the vaccine as soon as possible. Please be reassured that there are no safety concerns in the new guidance, and it will not impact on how effective the vaccination is in protecting you from Covid-19 once the course is complete.
It is very important that you don’t contact the NHS to try and get a vaccine, we will contact you to arrange an appointment.
It is important to note that even when you have received your vaccine, you must continue to follow government guidance on social distancing and wearing a mask, as well as the additional measures in place in your area.
We apologise for any inconvenience, and look forward to seeing you for your second vaccine dose at the right time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria have a dedicated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) dedicated solely to the COVID-19 vaccination programme. The FAQs are regularly updated and answer many common questions and queries.
The FAQs are available on their website.