I was buoyed a few days ago when I visited the local vaccination hub for Erewash. Our GP practices are working as one within the local Primary Care Network and have already vaccinated a few thousand residents, including care home residents and staff.
However, our amazing GPs have asked me to pass on a message – they want to vaccinate as many residents as possible, as quickly as possible. And the best way you can help them do this is to WAIT to be contacted and NOT to contact your surgery directly.
This week more doses of vaccine will arrive which means vaccinations will be taking place in a second location, ensuring the pace of roll out is not only maintained, but sped up.
My visit to the hub was not only an opportunity to thank the amazing staff and volunteers who are on the front line delivering the vaccine, but also to meet the many residents who were getting the jab, including Alicia, and so taking their first steps to getting their life back and staying safe.
Today, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has set out full details of Government’s COVID Vaccination Delivery Plan, which will see vaccinations offered to everyone in the top four priority groups as designated by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation over the next six weeks.
Thanks to the heroic efforts of our NHS and Armed Forces, we have already vaccinated over 2.4 million people – more than the rest of Europe combined - with over 200,000 doses being administered each day.
By the end of this week it is intended that 1,200 GP-led, pharmacy-led and hospital vaccine delivery sites will have been established, together with seven large vaccination centres, to deliver what is the largest programme of mass vaccination ever carried out in the UK.
This mammoth task, which has been greatly boosted by the news that the MHRA has approved a third vaccine for use, will have protected a significant number of people from the risks the virus poses.
Of course, we remain cautiously optimistic about the timetable as there is inevitably a time lag between people receiving the jab and receiving immunity and then a further lag before pressure on our NHS begins to ease.
However, for the first time in nearly a year, thanks in the main to British science in the form of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine which has allowed us to implement our vaccination programme at pace, we can see the light at the end of this very dark tunnel and a route back to freedom.
For now, though, we must all stay at home in order to save lives and protect our NHS and importantly accept your appointment to be vaccinated when you get it.
For further details about the vaccination programme including how the priority groups are determined, please download and read this helpful leaflet produced by the NHS at https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/948678/PHE_11920_Covid-19_why_do_I_have_to_wait_leaflet_v2.pdf