North Cumbria is well on target to meet the national ambitions of vaccinating all over 50s by the middle of April and all adults by the end of July.
More than 120,000 vaccinations have been given in north Cumbria since the programme started in December, more than a third of our population have received at least a first dose.
Ed Tallis, director of primary care for NHS North Cumbria CCG, said: “We know as people become eligible for the vaccine they are keen to get it as quickly as they can, and we want to reassure people that as the vaccine is being delivered to north Cumbria it is being administered.
“While we are working with regional partners to open a large vaccination centre before the end of the month, we want to make sure people know that even if they receive a letter inviting them to book, they can wait and be called by their local practice. So long as the supplies continue we will meet all of the national deadlines, so please be patient with our practices who are leading the biggest programme of its kind and working above and beyond to get to their patients.”
How is the vaccine being delivered?
Vaccine supplied are allocated at a national level. Our Primary Care Networks (PCNs) - groups of GPs working together in a local area - are vaccinating as soon as they receive deliveries. The national supply is expected to improve in the coming weeks.
As GPs work through the eligible cohorts – some of which are very big and will take some time to work through – they will contact individuals and invite them in for the vaccine at a hub. If you wait you will be called closer to home.
In the meantime you may receive a letter from the National Booking Service inviting you to book at a Large Vaccination Centre or at a community pharmacy. If you are able to travel you can book a slot. You do not have to respond to this letter and can wait to be called locally – which will be within the next four weeks for the JCVI cohorts.
We are working with our regional colleagues in the north east to open a Large Vaccination Centre in Penrith. The challenge continues to be recruiting the clinical workforce. It is scheduled to open by the end of the month. Slots will be bookable via the National Booking Service.
This week two community pharmacies – Boots in Carlisle and Pharamcy2U in Dunmail Park in Workington have started vaccinations – these slots are bookable through the National Booking Service. More community pharmacies will be coming on line in the coming weeks.
If they do not appear on the National Booking Service it is because all of the available slots have been taken, the advice is to keep checking as more will be released or wait until you are called by your GP Practice.
Your GP Practices and local pharmacy cannot answer queries about the National Booking Service, please do not call them.
Where are vaccines being given to patients?
• Our 8 PCNs are vaccinating from 9 hubs.
• As the supply of Oxford Astra Zeneca (which does not require the same complex handling as Pfizer) grows we are seeing more practices able to offer localised clinics – this especially helpful for Practices such as Alston, Keswick, Seascale and Silloth that are some distance from their hub. This also reduces travel for our patients
• GP teams have been vaccinating housebound patients and those in care homes.
• There are also hospital hubs at the West Cumberland Hospital and the Cumberland Infirmary which have concentrated mainly on frontline health and social care staff.
• By the end of the month we anticipate vaccinations being offered from 16 regular bases across north Cumbria. This approach supports our diverse, rural and remote communities with opportunities as close to home as possible
• In three months we have given more than 120,000 vaccinations to members of our community, and as vaccine supplies improve this will increase quickly
• As people become eligible for the vaccine so do lots of other people in that group and we are working through them as fast as vaccine supplies allow
• Once you have had your vaccination please keep following the guidelines around face coverings and social distancing to keep protecting each other
There is a lot of information about the covid vaccine roll-out locally at: northcumbriaccg.nhs.uk/covidvaccine