w/c 4 January 2021
Across Surrey Heartlands we are continuing to roll-out our Covid-19 vaccination programme, with more local vaccination services being set up across the area.
As per the JCVI guidance, we are currently vaccinating those in the top two priority cohorts; i.e. those who are over 80 years of age, care home residents and staff and our most vulnerable frontline staff.
GP practices are working together in clusters of practices (known as Primary Care Networks) to provide vaccination services for their patients from local community settings (rather than individual surgeries) where we are able to provide more space and easier access for larger numbers of people.
Not all areas have started vaccinating yet, so people shouldn’t be worried if they or a family member over 80 hasn’t heard anything so far. The same for our care home residents and colleagues. Our GPs and practice staff are working hard to vaccinate as many people as quickly as they can, and many more people will be invited over the next few weeks. This is only the start of the biggest vaccination programme the NHS has ever seen and will inevitably take some time to work through everyone.
Eligible patients – currently those over 80 years of age - are being contacted to come forward for their vaccination in a variety of ways; if you haven’t been contacted yet, you will be soon and you won’t be missed out. Please help the local NHS by not calling us; we will contact you when it’s your turn.
Where are our local vaccination services?
So far, we have provided vaccination services in a variety of local venues across Surrey including:
- Chertsey Hall
- Victoria Gate - Woking town centre
- The Westway in Caterham
- St Christopher’s Church in Haslemere
- The Hythe Centre near Egham and Staines
- Woodhatch in Reigate
- Emberbrook Surgery in Thames Ditton
- Epsom Racecourse
- Medwyns Surgery in Dorking
- The Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford
More sites will be coming on stream shortly once they have received their vaccine supply and we will soon have full coverage across the whole of our area.
We have also started to vaccinate staff and residents in local care homes. We have started with larger care homes – those with over 50 residents – and will be rolling the service out to all care homes over the next few weeks.
To date we have been administering the Pfizer vaccine which has to be stored a very low temperatures and, once thawed, is difficult to move. Last week, the approval of the Oxford – Astra Zeneca vaccine was announced, which is much easier to store and move around. From this week, we will start to receive small quantities of this new vaccine, with supplies ramping up over the coming weeks. This will mean it will be easier to get out to smaller care homes, local residents who are housebound and so on.
Large vaccination centre
Next week we will also start to use Epsom Racecourse as a larger vaccination site, where we will be able to accommodate greater numbers of people. From next week we will also be using the site to start to vaccinate larger numbers of frontline health and social care workers.
Our staff are doing an incredible job to deliver what it is the largest vaccination programme in our history, at the same time as continuing to be there for everyone who needs care. The collaboration with local partners has also been phenomenal and has allowed us to roll this out at pace.
New guidance on dose interval
The new guidance from the JCVI on the period between doses also means that we will be able to get the maximum benefit for the most people in the shortest possible time and will help save lives. Patients who have already received their first dose are being contacted to rebook their second appointment at a later date, as per this latest guidance. Again, if you haven’t heard anything yet, we will be contacting you soon.
Please help by playing your part
Finally, a reminder that the large rise in cases locally due to the emergence of a new variant of the virus also shows that we cannot let our guard down now and even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow social distancing guidance.
As a final reminder we would ask local people to help us by:
- Not contacting the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you
- When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments
- And really importantly, please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives
Find out more about the vaccination programme and get the answers to frequently asked questions