The roll-out of Covid-19 vaccinations in Sefton will “gather pace over the coming weeks”, with more ‘at risk’ people to be invited to get their first jab.
GPs, working together with Sefton’s two Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), are preparing to give out more of the coronavirus vaccine across the borough.
Vaccinations, which began at the end of December, will increase across Sefton during the remainder of January and more people who are most at risk of Covid-19 or aged over 80, as well as care home staff and residents will be invited for their immunisation first.
NHS experts say this is the biggest vaccination programme they have ever undertaken and the exact weekly roll-out of the programme will be largely shaped by the vaccine supply from the manufacturers.
Not all local premises or surgeries can become community vaccination centres, as they need to meet the strict clinical and logistical requirements of the programme.
It means that residents should prepare for that fact that it is unlikely to be at their local GP practice or another nearby venue.
The NHS has a clear vaccine delivery plan but it will take some time for GP practices to work through the number of people aged over 80 that need to be contacted.
GP practices and the CCGs are asking everyone to be patient and until people are fully vaccinated with two doses, they are reminded to follow the current restrictions and guidance and play their part by following these steps:
• Do not contact your GP practice or the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you
• When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments
• Please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives by socially distancing, wearing a mask or face covering and washing your hands regularly.
The roll out of the programme in community vaccinations centres is in addition to hospital immunisation hubs, which began operating in December.
Dr Craig Gillespie, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, explained: “Our GP practices are working together in groups to deliver vaccinations as quickly as possible to their patients aged over 80 years and to invite them into a community centre to be immunised safely.
“Importantly, in the meantime, we are asking everyone not to contact their GP practice or another NHS organisation to ask for their vaccination – or to request one for a member of their household or their carer.”
Dr Rob Caudwell, Chair NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “We do understand that people will be keen to know when they will receive their vaccines. Each of us will receive an invite when it is our turn to be vaccinated, either by letter or a phone call.
“You may know others aged over 80 who have been invited for their vaccination already, however, not all areas of Sefton could start vaccinating at the same time, so not everyone has been contacted yet, but we will get to you.”
People expecting to be contacted for a vaccinations are being warned about possible scam calls from fraudsters. Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and cyber crime, has received reports from members of the public who have been sent text messages claiming to be from the NHS offering them the chance to sign up for vaccinations for a fee.
Pauline Smith, Head of Action Fraud, said: “Remember, the vaccine is only available on the NHS and is free of charge. The NHS will never ask you for details about your bank account or to pay for the vaccine. If you receive an email, text message or phone call purporting to be from the NHS and you are asked to provide financial details, this is a scam.”