More care home residents and vulnerable people in Wakefield will be offered protection against COVID-19, as the new Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine starts to be rolled out to GP-centres.
Local GPs are working together to provide vaccinations to as many care home residents and patients aged 80 and over as possible. In Wakefield four out of five primary care networks are now providing vaccinations from centres with the final one expected to start next week.
The Oxford vaccine does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures and is much easier to move so is easier to use in care homes and will mean GPs can now start vaccinating housebound patients.
The local NHS is working to expand the rollout as quickly as supplies become available. In the coming weeks, the first community pharmacies will be starting to offer vaccinations and four large vaccination centres are being set up across West Yorkshire, including Spectrum Community Health CIC, at Navigation Walk in Wakefield.
All services will continue to be appointment only and people will be invited for vaccinations through a national booking system, which will allow them to choose the most convenient location for them.
Vaccinations are being offered to those at greatest risk from COVID-19 first, in line with the recommendations from the Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI).
At the moment, GPs are offering vaccinations to people aged 80 and over and care home residents and will then move to other age groups in descending order.
Practices are busy contacting eligible patients to make appointments for their first vaccination as supplies are made available to them but it is likely take several weeks to cover everyone in these first groups.
Jo Webster, Chief Officer of NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “It is great news that we will be able to protect more vulnerable people. We are working with partners in Wakefield to make sure people can get their first vaccination as quickly and easily as possible and are ready to expand the rollout as fast as supplies become available.
“GPs, nurses, pharmacists and countless other staff, partners and volunteers are working around the clock to provide vaccinations. We know people are eager get protected and may be concerned if they are in one of the priority cohorts and have not been contacted yet. However, we would like to reassure them that they will be contacted over the next few weeks.
“Services are extremely busy at the moment and we would ask people to help the NHS at this very difficult time by not contacting their local GP or other NHS services about getting a vaccination. People will not be able to book an appointment until they have been invited to do so, so please be patient and we will contact you as soon as it is your turn.”