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Covid vaccination progress in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland

7th January 2021 | By Melanie Shilton | Posted in

It was announced on 2nd December 2020 that the Government had accepted the recommendation from the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to approve Pfizer/BioNTech’s Coronavirus vaccine for use.  The Oxford/ AstraZeneca vaccine has also now been authorised and began to be made available in the UK from Monday 4th January 2021.

The vaccine programme is well under way locally and is being administered first to people in the top priority groups for the life-saving vaccine, as identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI): People aged 80 and over, health and care staff, and care home workers and residents.

There are currently two hospital hubs up and running. Patients of 88 GP practices are receiving vaccinations from 13 locations. Mobile teams from GP practices are also going in to care homes to make sure the most vulnerable people are among the first to get protected.

Vaccines in hospitals

On Saturday 12th December 2020 the first vaccines began to be delivered to patients and health and social care staff in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland via a Hospital Hub at Leicester’s General Hospital. As second Hospital Hub has opened at Glenfield Hospital. Immediate priority is being given to patients aged over 80 who are already attending hospital as an outpatient or being discharged home after a hospital stay, along with NHS and care home staff considered to be at the greatest risk from the disease.

Vaccines in GP practices

The first GP practices in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland began administering Covid vaccinations on Tuesday 15th December. Now, only three weeks later, there are 13 locations providing vaccinations for patients registered with 88 practices. The final GP practices are expected to start their vaccinations next week which means that all eligible patients in Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland will then have access to a vaccination service.

One practice will provide vaccinations on behalf of several practices in a group known as a primary care network.
Some practices are providing vaccinations from GP practice premises; others are taking place in non-NHS sites such as leisure centres, conference centres and in local authority premises.

Further locations are expected to become available over the coming weeks to make it even easier for people to get to a vaccination. The exact weekly roll-out of new sites and vaccinators will be largely shaped by the vaccine supply schedule from the two manufacturers.

Vaccines in care homes

On 30th December 2020, the first vaccinations were given in local care homes, with the vaccine being transported to care homes by GP practices using temperature controlled cool boxes.

Some care home residents have been vaccinated by GP practices, where residents were able to be transported into the practice. The ability to take the vaccine directly to the patients is a huge step forward in reaching some of the most vulnerable people in the community.

Two doses of the vaccine are required

The vaccine is typically delivered by a simple injection in the upper arm. Two doses of the vaccine are required for both the Pfizer-BioNTech and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.

In the very early stages of the vaccination programme, the JCVI recommended that the second dose should be given three weeks after the first. In late December, this guidance was revised to prioritise giving as many people in at-risk groups their first dose, rather than providing two doses in as short a time as possible. This is because the evidence shows that one dose of either vaccine provides a high level of protection from Covid-19.

This has meant that in the first couple of weeks of January, some patients will have had their appointment for the second dose rescheduled. Patients will have been contacted if this was the case. There is no need to contact the practice.

Everyone will still receive their second dose and this will be within 12 weeks of their first. The second dose completes the course and is important for longer term protection. It is essential that everyone does attend for their second dose, in the same location.

What do we ask from local people?

NHS 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 public have an important part to play to help them do this:

  • You will be contacted to book their vaccination when your turn comes and will be advised where to go. Please do not contact your GP practice or the hospital enquiring about the vaccine.
  • When you are contacted, please attend your booked appointments, and
  • Please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.

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