GPs across north Cumbria are making progress in delivering the covid vaccine to our most vulnerable patients.
In line with national guidance, it is expected that our over 80s and care home residents who are able to have the vaccine, will have been offered the chance to be immunised by the end of January.
The NHS is asking those over 80s who haven’t been offered the vaccine to get in touch with their practices. Family members or friends who are worried someone may have been missed should talk to the person and support them to contact the practice.
GP teams are now vaccinating cohorts 3 and 4 of the list identified by the Joint Committee of Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) which includes our over 70s and clinically extremely vulnerable patients.
Ed Tallis, director of primary care for NHS North Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “This has been an extraordinary undertaking mobilising our full primary care teams – GPs, nurses, pharmacists, healthcare assistants the admin teams and many, many others including volunteers.
“We know people are anxious and keen to get their vaccines, which is wonderful to see, and there are some things people can do to help the NHS. Please don’t call your practice to try and book a slot. Our teams are working through their patient lists and will contact you when it is your turn. They are also continuing to see and treat people with medical needs and we don’t want to make it difficult for those people to get through.
“We know that some people are worried that they may have been missed. It’s important that only those in the over 80s category contact the practice if that is the case. We get lots of queries and when we get back to people, they have often, already been called. It is hard, but please give your team time to get to you.
“It is also possible that your relative or friend has decided not to have the jab so we would urge anyone concerned about a family member or friend to have a conversation with them before contacting the practice.
“In north Cumbria we are delighted to see that take up has been very high.”
Health and care workers have also been called as part of the first two cohorts and there has been significant progress in vaccinating our frontline workforce.
Here are some of the regular queries we receive:
• Why do I have to travel to a different surgery for the jab?
Groups of GP Practices are working together in local areas in what are called Primary Care Networks. We have eight primary care networks across north Cumbria delivering the vaccine from nine hubs.
These hubs had to meet many clinical and logistical criteria to meet the numbers of people being vaccinated in a day with the Pfizer vaccine which has a very short shelf life. Our primary care teams want to be able to offer this protection to their vulnerable patients as quickly as possible and have worked really hard to make this happen.
As the more flexible Oxford Zeneca vaccine has come on stream it has helped our GPs and their teams to support vaccinations in care homes and for housebound patients. In addition, some surgeries have been able to offer sessions closer to home. This will continue to develop.
• I am a frontline worker in health or social care and haven’t been called yet. Have I been missed?
While we have vaccinated a huge number of health and social care staff, we know that many vital roles are carried out by smaller organisations. We are asking anyone who has not yet been called in these roles to speak to their employer and ask their employer to contact NHS North Cumbria CCG.
• I am an unpaid carer. How will you know I should be called?
We are working with our carers’ organisations across north Cumbria to establish a practical solution. Unpaid carers are part of cohort 6.
• I am clinically extremely vulnerable when will I be called?
We are following the guidance outlined by the JCVI and we will update you as we move on to the next cohort. We are currently starting to call cohorts 3 and 4, which includes the clinically extremely vulnerable. It will take some time to work through this group so please give your practice a chance to contact you.
• Once I have had the first vaccine can I stop following the guidelines?
No – you must still continue to follow the guidance.
Please maintain a reduced contact with others. Please follow the hands, face and space rules.
This is to make sure that while you have protection you don’t pass it on to other people. The government will let us know when we can start to relax how we follow the rules. For now we must do all we can.
• Can I book my vaccine appointment with my GP?
No. We’re asking people to help us in the NHS by not calling your GP to try and book your vaccine. You will be told to wait until you are contacted by the NHS.
• How are you ensuring no vaccine is wasted?
Our primary care vaccine hubs have been asked to have a list of patients in line with the JCVI guidance who can be called in at short notice if there is likely to be any vaccine left at the end of a session.
• You can find out more about the numbers of vaccines being delivered here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/
• There is useful information and links about the vaccine here https://northcumbriaccg.nhs.uk/covidvaccine
• The priority cohorts have been decided by the Joint Committee of Vaccines and Immunisations (JCVI) and you can read more here:
OR this explains the cohorts they have identified: