Local vaccination centres run by GPs are opening across the area this week as the roll-out of the biggest immunisation programme in NHS history gains momentum.
GPs and other primary care staff have been working round the clock to ensure those most at risk are able to receive the vaccine first, with four sites starting to vaccinate in South Gloucestershire, Bristol and North Somerset. A phased roll-out will continue into the new year.
Practices have been working together in groups called Primary Care Networks’ to provide the vaccine across the area. People aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers, will be the first to be invited to get the jab – with local people urged to wait their turn to be called.
The sites administering vaccinations this week as part of the ‘Wave 1’ GP-led programme include Kingswood Health Centre, Greenway Community Centre at Southmead and surgeries in Weston-super-Mare and Langford.
People over 80 who are most at risk from COVID-19 are the priority cohort, based on advice from the national independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Local GP and member of the clinical team responsible for the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire COVID-19 vaccination programme, Dr Neil Kerfoot, is vaccinating people at Kingswood Health Centre from today.
He said: “We are really excited to be able to start vaccinating local residents to help protect them against coronavirus. We have been booking patients in for the last few days and inviting those over the age of 80 to come and get their jab. We are asking everyone to be patient and not to contact their surgery in relation to vaccination – we will contact you when we are ready to book you in.
“To be in this position is testament to our incredible workforce – they have pulled out all the stops to ensure we are able to start vaccinating. This includes identifying suitable sites and putting in place strong processes to meet the logistical challenges of a programme of this size and scale.”
Sara Blackmore, director of public health at South Gloucestershire Council, said: “This is fantastic progress, and it has been a real partnership effort to get ready for this week’s local vaccinations.
“It is still vital that we keep following the guidance: Hands, Face, Space; to protect ourselves, our family, friends, neighbours and our whole community. While there will be vaccine for everyone who needs it, the scale of the task means it is going to take some time, and we need to stay mindful of the threat of the virus and do everything we can to limit spread.”
Due to limited early supply of the vaccine, the Wave 1 sites have been selected on the basis of geography, the number of over-80s in the local population and operational readiness. More local sites will be announced in the coming weeks.
Thank you for reading this. The Week In has been publishing local news free of charge for the last 12 years. That won’t change in the future but we are changing the way we run our business. Until now, we have been solely dependent on advertising revenue but we have now set up a cooperative to oversee the future development of the publication. The Week In Community Ltd is a community benefit society, owned not by shareholders but individual members. By becoming a member at £3 a month you will not only be contributing to the future of local interest journalism but will also have a say in the future of the organisation. To find out more, click on the button on the right of the banner at the top of this page.