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COVID-19 vaccination sites across Norfolk and Waveney set to remain open as snow is forecast across the region  

COVID-19 vaccination sites across Norfolk and Waveney are set to remain open this weekend as plans are underway to prepare for cold weather and significant snowfall across the region.

The local NHS is urging people to wrap up warm and travel safely if they have a COVID-19 vaccination appointment booked. Police are also urging motorists to take extra care on the roads as snow and ice is forecast to affect roads.

If extreme weather conditions make running vaccination centres unsafe the local NHS will use social media channels, websites and the local media to let people know of any closures or disruption to vaccination services. Please look out for updates and alerts over the weekend and early next week.

Preparations are underway to make sure pavements and car parks are gritted at vaccination sites, but the NHS needs your help to make sure that vaccinations planned for this weekend and early next week run as smoothly as possible.

  • We know people may need to leave extra journey time because of the snow but please arrive as close to your appointment time as possible and no more than 10 minutes before your appointment. If people arrive too early it can cause queueing which makes social distancing more difficult and may mean people waiting in the cold.
  • If you arrive early for your appointment, please wait in your car. You could bring a blanket, a hot drink and a book or a newspaper to make your wait more comfortable.
  • Wrap up warm – lots of thin layers (with short sleeves as your base layer) are recommended as well as a warm winter coat, hat, gloves and scarf.
  • If you are unable to attend your appointment safely please don’t worry – contact us if you can to let us know. If you can’t get through to cancel your appointment please don’t worry. We will contact you to re-book your appointment in the next few days.

Dr Anoop Dhesi, a local GP and Chair of NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “We are doing everything possible to prepare for everything the weather throws at us over the next few days.  Our staff and volunteers are going above and beyond to make sure people are safe, can stay warm and get their vaccinations as planned.

“While we appreciate you may have to set off from home early due to the snow, please try to arrive as close to your appointment time as possible.  If patients arrive too early it can cause long queues in the cold. Given the weather conditions that are forecast we want to ensure people stay warm and well while attending their appointments.”

Dr Dhesi added: “This is the biggest vaccination programme ever undertaken by the NHS and thousands of patients across Norfolk and Waveney have already receive a COVID-19 vaccine.  But we all have a part to play in protecting ourselves, our families and local communities.  This means wearing a mask, keeping two metres apart from others and supporting our NHS staff to do their job by treating them with the kindness and respect they deserve.

“I would like to thank everyone involved in keeping our vaccination sites running, our clinical and nursing staff, admin and reception teams and the wonderful volunteers that are supporting us with stewarding and setting up vaccination stations.  We have also had fantastic support from the local fire and police services. Everyone is working long hours and making personal sacrifices to get local people protected from COVID-19 as quickly as possible so things can start to become more normal again sooner rather than later.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

COVID-19 vaccination programme

 

  • By the end of this week there will be 31 vaccination sites across Norfolk and Waveney offering the vaccines: They comprise of five ‘hospital hubs’ (including NSFT and NCH&C who are now vaccinating staff), 21 PCN sites, four large vaccination centres, and one pharmacy.
  • We are still awaiting confirmation of when other large centres will open, but we expect they will go live from February in a phased approach. New sites will be announced by the NHS just before they go live.
  • We continue to work with NHSE/I and local pharmacies to increase the number of pharmacies involved.
  • Over the next few weeks, all Norfolk and Waveney communities will have access to a vaccination site within a 10-mile radius of where they live.
  • The NHS is well-used to delivering millions of vaccines a year and is moving quickly to offer everyone in the top priority groups their first dose by the middle of February if supplies allow – if you are in an eligible group and haven’t been contacted yet please don’t worry, we will contact you to offer you an appointment at a vaccination site, or if you are housebound, at your home.
  • More information can be found here: https://www.norfolkandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk/covid-19-vaccination-programme
  • It’s really important to attend the appointment you’re offered if you can, but anyone who may have difficulty attending a vaccination appointment should discuss that with their GP practice or hospital when they are contacted to arrange an appointment time. Support from various community transport services is available to people depending upon eligibility.
  • Vaccination is by appointment only once you have been invited, so please wait to be contacted.
  • Everyone should continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives – that means staying at home as much as possible and following the ‘hands, face, space’ guidance if you have to go out.

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