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COVID-19 vaccination programme

Norfolk and Waveney has been making great progress in rolling out the vaccination programme in our area to patients aged 80+, care home staff and residents, and vulnerable NHS staff since mid-December. The good news is that there are now three vaccines that have been approved for use – with two currently being given to local patients.

  • If you are currently eligible for a vaccine please be patient, you will be contacted with an appointment. More details
  • Please don’t call hospitals or GP practices to ask for a vaccine – they won’t be able to offer you a vaccine until it is your turn.
  • COVID-19 infection rates remain high and local health services and hospitals are incredibly busy.  The best thing we can all do to protect ourselves; our families and communities is to remember - Hands, Face, Space.

This page is being regularly updated to reflect the national guidance and the local queries we receive, so keep coming back to see the latest news, and take a look at our updates and the latest version of our myth buster.

We are hearing some great stories of how well the vaccination programme is being delivered in Norfolk and Waveney.  You can read about them in the compliments tab below. If you have a compliment to share then visit the contact us section of our website.

Easy Read Information

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Pictured: One of the first patients to receive the vaccine at the St James Surgery in King's Lynn. 

 

When will I or my loved ones get the vaccine?

There are now three vaccines approved for use in the UK. They require two doses to provide longer-lasting protection.

An independent group of experts has recommended that the NHS first offers these vaccines to those at highest risk of catching the disease and/or of suffering serious complications or dying from COVID-19.

GP practices identify people on their registered patient list who are in the current priority group for vaccination. At the moment this is:

  • anyone living in a care home for older adults
  • care home staff
  • those aged 80 years and over
  • those aged over 75 years
  • those aged over 70 years
  • frontline health care workers
  • frontline social care workers
  • adults on the NHS shielded patient list

This list was recently extended to include those aged over 70, but work continues to make sure those already identified get their vaccines as soon as possible.  Persons aged less than 70 years who are clinically extremely vulnerable should be offered vaccine alongside those aged 70 to 74 years of age.

Once the GP practice has identified their patient list, it is then sorted based on clinical need.  For example, someone who is 81 with serious underlying health conditions may receive the vaccine before someone else who is 83 but is generally fit and active. 

Other factors are also taken into account.  For example, patients considered to be ‘housebound’ would be vaccinated in the community and therefore won’t receive an invitation to attend a local vaccination centre at the same time as other people they may know locally.  They may have to wait for supply of the right type of vaccine, as only some vaccines can be transported between people’s homes.

We have also recently diverted the vaccine from some local areas that have already vaccinated a high number of people aged 80+, to other local areas that need to catch up – we think this is the right thing to do as we must get the vaccine to the most vulnerable wherever they live in Norfolk and Waveney.

Once all the people in the groups above have been vaccinated, it will then also be offered (in age order) to:

  • those aged over 65 years
  • adults under 65 years with long term conditions (a list is available on the Government website)
  • Unpaid carers - Alongside this group the vaccine will also be offered to those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.

Those aged 50 to 64 will be offered it later.

 

How are the vaccines being prioritised?

You canAtRisk view the first phase priority groups in this poster produced by Public Health England. 

You can read about why you have to wait for your COVID-19 vaccine on the Government website or look at one of the guides listed below.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) published advice on what the priority groups should be.  You can read the latest advice here.

Where are the vaccines being delivered?

The COVID-19 vaccine is being given to people at three types of locations across Norfolk and Waveney. 

You will be offered an appointment when it is your turn. Please don’t call hospitals or GP practices to ask for a vaccine – they won’t be able to offer you a vaccine until it is your turn. 

1. Hospital hubs

Three hospitals are delivering the vaccine by appointment only: James Paget, Norfolk and Norwich and Queen Elizabeth NHS Trusts.

2. PCN Sites

Our Primary Care Networks (PCNs) have set-up sites across Norfolk and Waveney to deliver the vaccine from. They have also developed roving teams to go to care homes and people who are housebound. Our 21 GP-led sites are: 

  • Fakenham Medical Practice, Fakenham
  • St James Medical Practice, King’s Lynn
  • Lionwood Medical Practice, Norwich
  • Falkland Surgery, Bradwell
  • Swanton Morley Surgery, Swanton Morley
  • Thetford Healthy Living Centre, Thetford
  • Kirkley Mill Surgery, Lowestoft
  • Cringleford Surgery, Cringleford
  • St John’s Surgery, Terrington St John
  • Trinity and Bowthorpe Medical Practice, Norwich
  • Park Surgery, Great Yarmouth
  • Drayton Medical Practice
  • Sheringham Medical Practice
  • The Market Surgery, Aylsham
  • Sole Bay Health Centre, Southwold
  • Manor Farm Medical Centre, Swaffham
  • Poringland Community Centre, South Norfolk
  • Gurney Surgery, Norwich
  • Hoveton Village Hall, North Norfolk
  • Rossis Leisure, North Walsham
  • Snettisham Surgery

3. Large vaccination centres

We have had 13 large scale vaccination centres, such as leisure centres and community hospitals, approved by NHS England and Improvement. Our first large vaccination centre is open at the Castle Quarter shopping centre in Norwich. Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust will be delivering the vaccines to patients in Norfolk and Waveney at these sites.

4. Can I get a Covid Vaccine at my local pharmacy?

Currently, the only pharmacy delivering the vaccine in Norfolk and Waveney is Hayden Chemist based at Hayden House, Bridge Rd, Lowestoft, which joined the COVID-19 vaccination programme on Thursday 21 January 2021. 

As more pharmacies join the local programme in the coming weeks we will update the news section of our website.

As new vaccination sites go live we will update the news section of our website to reflect this.

Can I buy a Covid Vaccine privately? 

The pharmacies offering COVID-19 vaccinations are part of the national NHS vaccination programme and the vaccines are provided free on the NHS.

Unlike the flu jab, you cannot currently pay for a COVID vaccination at pharmacies.

What information will I need to give out when I book my vaccination?

You will be asked for your name and date of birth (DOB). If you know your NHS Number this will help to speed up the process but is not essential. Your NHS number appears on various documents and correspondence you may have received related to your healthcare or medications.  If you cannot find it at home you can use this service on the NHS website to find your number.  Please do not call your GP to request your NHS number as they are telephone lines are incredibly busy and should be kept clear for patients who need to make appointments.

Is any transport assistance available?

A number of GP surgeries across Norfolk and Waveney are making vaccination appointments for those eligible to have the COVID-19 vaccine.

If you've been invited for an appointment, your GP surgery will check your transport arrangements with you. There are various options available if you need any further help to arrange transport to the surgery.

If you have any difficulties getting to your appointment, or require further assistance or support, please discuss this with your GP practice or hospital when they contact you.

If you live in Norfolk, you can find more information about community and other transport options available to you on the Norfolk County Council website and on the Transport Plus webpage.

If you live in the Waveney area Connecting Communities can help to arrange transport to help you get to your COVID-19 vaccination once you have an appointment booked.

Caring Together is offering support to carers in Norfolk, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to enable them to access the COVID-19 vaccine.

Myth Buster - Common questions and key facts about the vaccination programme

This information is written in plain English and is aimed at anyone who may have heard things about the vaccine that has made them concerned.  This document will be updated based on engagement with feedback from specific patient groups, professionals working in health and social care and the enquiries we receive from the public. Read it here

 

 

 

Which vaccines have been approved?

Three vaccines have been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) for use in the UK.  The first two are currently being administered in Norfolk and Waveney. Click on the links below to find out more:

 

Second Covid-19 Vaccine appointments

Both of the two Covid-19 vaccines currently available need to be given in two separate doses with time in between - AstraZeneca (Oxford) vaccine between 4 and 12 weeks apart, and the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine at least 3 weeks apart.

For both vaccines, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) guidance is that both offer considerable protection after a single dose, at least in the short term. For both vaccines the second dose completes the course and is likely to be important for longer term protection.

Prioritising the first doses of vaccine for as many people as possible on the priority list will protect the greatest number of at risk people overall in the shortest possible time.  It will also have the greatest impact on reducing the number of people who die, become acutely ill or need hospitalisation, and in protecting the NHS and care services.

So, in line with the national directive, second doses of both vaccines are being given towards the end of the recommended 12 week timeframe.  This means that many people that were booked in for their second vaccine three weeks after their first dose, will have their appointments changed for a later date.

We recognise the inconvenience this may cause if you have had a second dose appointment cancelled, but it is important that we use current vaccine stock to vaccinate as many people as possible on the priority list with their first dose.

Please do not worry if you have already had your first dose as you will not be forgotten.  You will be invited back for a second dose within the 12-week window.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Work or volunteer with us to help deliver the vaccine

The NHS in Norfolk and Waveney is recruiting thousands of vaccinators and support staff to help protect millions of people from COVID-19. 

By bolstering its workforce the NHS will be able to offer the public potentially life-saving protection from coronavirus in a range of locations, focusing on the most at-risk groups first, whilst at the same time keeping A&Es, elective surgery, GPs and community services going.

Roles we are seeking to fill across Norfolk and Waveney include:

  • Clinical Operational Supervisors
  • Registered Practitioners
  • Immunisers
  • Front of house receptionists
  • Post-vaccination Observation Support Volunteers

If you’re interested in opportunities available across Norfolk and Waveney, we’d love to hear from you. You can find out more by:

  • visiting NHS Jobs where you can also apply online, or
  • contacting our HR Team via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Vaccine information for specific patient groups and staff

  • Guide for older adults - This leaflet provides information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme, who is eligible and who needs to have the vaccine to protect them from the virus. This guide is for older adults. 

 

Local Covid Vaccination Programme Updates

A COVID-19 vaccination programme update (7 January 2021) was held with various MPs and Councillors on Thursday 7 January 2021. It included key highlights from the Norfolk and Waveney COVID-19 vaccination programme (as of 7 January 2021). 

View the presentation here 

11 Jan 2021

We're vaccinating as many people as possible in Norfolk and Waveney, read our latest update here.

Are there reasons why I may not be able to have either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca (Oxford) vaccine?

There are slightly different rules as to who will not be able to receive the Pfizer and AstraZeneca (Oxford) vaccines currently available.

You will not be able to have the Pfizer vaccine if you:

• are less than 16 years of age
• have had an allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine
• have a history of immediate-onset anaphylaxis to many drugs, or unexplained anaphylaxis
• are pregnant
• are suffering from a fever
• are participating in a clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccines
• have received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the preceding 21 days
• have completed a course of COVID-19 vaccination

You will not be able to have the AstraZeneca (Oxford) vaccine if you:

• are less than 18 years of age
• have had a previous allergic reaction (including anaphylaxis) to a previous dose of AstraZeneca Covid-19 Vaccine
• are pregnant
• are suffering from a fever
• are participating in a clinical trial of COVID-19 vaccines
• have received a dose of COVID-19 vaccine in the preceding 28 days
• have completed a course of COVID-19 vaccination

 

Are vaccination sites accessible for people with mobility problems?

All of our vaccination sites have undergone rigorous assessments to ensure they are both as accessible as possible.

All our local practices, hospitals and community pharmacies are required to be accessible under the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). Those that are vaccination sites are used to offering flu vaccinations and a range of services to people with a variety of physical needs. Most of the sites are making information about accessibility available on their websites, for example at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

All our large vaccination sites (LVS) also need to be DDA compliant including ramps for those entering or leaving the building. The Castle Quarter LVS in Norwich Castle Mall is also able to offer visitors use of a lift. LVS sites were selected on the basis of having 60 public car parking spaces on-site or nearby.

We realise that for many adults who live with autism or learning disabilities, going to the vaccination centre can be difficult. There is information about the vaccination programme and what to expect on our easy read page, and on the Suffolk Ordinary Lives website.

NHS England has visited all of the sites described above to ensure they are suitable before they are allowed to operate as a vaccination site.

Can I catch Covid-19 from going to a vaccination site?

Every possible effort is made to ensure that the vaccination process is safe.  All our vaccination sites have to comply with strict social distancing and hand hygiene measures following guidance from Public Health England.

An Infection and Prevent Control Nurse from NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG reviewed every risk assessment and specification for all the proposed sites to make sure they were suitable.

Social distancing is observed at all times during queuing, having your vaccination and, if appropriate, during the 15 minutes observation time required afterwards.

Your temperature is checked on arrival and anyone with a high temperature will not be allowed into the vaccination centre. Hand sanitisers are available at regular intervals, and chairs are sanitised between each vaccination.

The vaccinator asks a series of screening questions to make sure the individual is suitable to receive the vaccine. Only suitably trained, competent staff are able to support the vaccination process.

What happens if I get a letter inviting me to use the national booking system?

As well as being offered vaccination appointments at local GP practices and community hubs, patients aged 70+ and 80+ (as well as health and care frontline staff, and people on the national shielded list) are now receiving letters from NHS England inviting them to use the national booking system for an appointment at Castle Quarter in Norwich (and Hayden Chemist in Lowestoft).

If you:

1) Have already had a first vaccination and been given an appointment for a second dose, then please keep this appointment and ensure you go back to the same place where you first attended.

2) Have a confirmed appointment with your local GP practice or community hub for a first vaccine then please keep this appointment and ignore the letter sent by NHS England.

3) Have received a letter from NHS England offering you an appointment at Castle Quarter in Norwich and have not previously been offered an appointment from your GP practice or a community hub then you can choose to either:

a) Book a vaccination at Castle Quarter through the national appointment system using the telephone number and website address provided in the NHS England letter

OR

b) Wait until a local GP Practice or community hub contacts you with an appointment. You shouldn’t have to wait too long as this process is underway.

 

I am an unpaid carer for a family member or friend – can I have the vaccine?

Those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill, should also be offered vaccination alongside the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable NHS shielded groups.

Free tailored support is also available from Caring Together to help carers and the people they care for, get to their vaccinations.  If you are a carer who has a problem attending a coronavirus vaccination appointment please contact Caring Together on:

0345 241 0954 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can also complete the form at caringtogether.org/coronavirus-covid-19/support-for-carers-to-attend-covid-19-vaccinations

Covid guidance for carers is available on the Carers UK website.

My hospital appointment has been changed and I don’t know what to do?

If your appointment has been changed or cancelled we will contact you with new appointment details so there is no need to ring the hospital unless you are concerned that your condition has changed – in which case contact the relevant hospital department in the first instance.

If you have an appointment, and haven’t heard from us, please attend as scheduled. Our hospitals are zoned to keep both staff and patients safe – and it is important that you keep your appointment so we can conduct an assessment of your condition as soon as possible.

Information for pregnant women

Information for pregnant women - Important information is available for all women of childbearing age, those currently pregnant, planning a pregnancy, or breastfeeding about the COVID-19 vaccination. View it here.

Vaccination information for muslims

Information about the vaccination programme is available on the Muslim Council of Britain website, and from the British Islamic Medical Association.  Both sites examine frequently asked questions and look at the truth behind each statement.

Compliments - positive feedback on the vaccination programme

22 Jan 2021

"I had my first jab last Sunday at a Village Hall.  Once we got into the hall it was very well organised and extremely speedy and painless. A most helpful lady was at the exit to offer a helping hand up the ramp to the outside.  They had thought of everything.  A big Thank You to all concerned at the practice.

I received the official letter the following day enclosing a leaflet which seemed to suggest that the secibd jab would depend on my making the appointment instead of its being arranged by the practice.  However, on reading the NHS information page online, it seems that this is not so.

Thank you NHS!!!"

 

13 Jan 2021

"I had a COVID 19 vaccination today and I should like you all to know how very efficient the whole process was. Easy parking, with my wheelchair being taken to the centre, where there was nothing but smiles and efficiency and a rapid movement through the whole process, and then taken out to the car park attendant and back to the car. THE WHOLE PROCESS COULD NOT HAVE BEEN DONE ANY BETTER OR EFFICIENTLY! Thank you"


11 Jan 2021

“I wanted to share my experience of taking my parents to a vaccination site in Great Yarmouth and Waveney area three weeks ago for their first jab. We were greeted at the gates by a lovely young man who was polite, reassuring and explained where I was going, where to park etc.  I explained I had both parents and they weren’t very mobile to which he assured me there was nothing to worry about, and he organised the traffic to allow me to park close to the entrance.  He then proceeded to assist me with a wheelchair for my mother, and wheeled my mother in whilst I walked my dad. It was such a relief as I suffer from anxiety and don’t know how I would have coped.  On the way in I was greeted by a lady who again was fantastic and went out of her way to put me at ease.

Once inside the system was flawless.  We were met at the desk by a lady manager who was friendly and again very helpful.  The staff inside were brilliant with both my parents, and the process was efficient and very good.  After we had sat for the waiting period after the jabs and it was time to leave, I was pleasantly surprised to find I had assistance from both the earlier people again helping to get my parents in the car. I honestly was so relieved that they went out of their way to ensure the safety and comfort of me and my vulnerable parents.

Yesterday we returned for my parents second vaccine and although I was greeted by a different person on the gate which worried me, I was relieved to see the young man I saw first time who recognised me.  He again accommodated me a space close to the entrance and again went out of his way to assist me getting my mother into a wheelchair and again wheeling her in so she wasn’t in the cold. It was a gesture which reminds me there are still kind caring people out there.  The process was again flawless with the young man also on hand again to help me.

I was so worried about taking my parents for their vaccines and as it’s just me who is local out of all my family, and knowing the importance of the vaccine, so I went ahead even though my anxiety was high and I did it!

So lastly I want to thank all members staff who made us feel at ease and provided a seamless service but I would like to say a special thank you to that young man who went above and beyond on both visits, and organised everything so well, assisting me and making me and my parents feel at ease.  The whole process was much more easy than I thought, even though it was freezing cold!  He was brilliant and a credit to the NHS.  I hope the staff and this gentleman get my thanks and appreciation.

Keep up the great work you’re doing!”


Got a good story about getting the Covid Vaccination?  Share it here by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

If you have a question that isn’t answered above, send it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will add it to this page or our myth buster.

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