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Calling everyone over the age of 50 who hasn’t yet booked their COVID-19 vaccine

The Norfolk and Waveney health and care system is having a massive push this weekend to vaccinate all remaining people in priority groups 1-9 before we are given the go-ahead to open up appointments to younger cohorts in the near future.

Whilst 54% of Norfolk and Waveney’s adult population have already received the vaccine, it is vital that people over the age of 50 that have not already booked an appointment are reminded and encouraged to do so.

Groups 1-9 include:

  • Anyone aged 50+
  • Individuals who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (aged 16 and over)
  • Health and social care staff
  • Care home workers and residents
  • Carers (paid and unpaid, including young carers aged 16+)

Following the news earlier this week that a US study had found the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine to be safe and 100% effective in preventing serious COVID-19 related illness, the system is ready for an influx of people who are now reassured and ready to be vaccinated.

Local data confirms that around 88% of people aged 50 plus in Norfolk and Waveney have already received the first dose of the vaccine.  Health leaders are urging the rest to come forward by the end of this month to ensure they can be vaccinated before appointments are released to the younger priority groups in the coming weeks.

Cath Byford, Chief Nurse, NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you have not yet had a first dose of the vaccine and are eligible because of your age, workplace, health or caring responsibilities then now is the time to come forward; the scientific evidence shows that the vaccine is safe and it could save your life. 

“Our trained vaccination teams can talk you through the vaccination and any concerns; if you are fearful of needles just let them know and they will support you to get your jab.  Many patients have said that they didn’t feel a thing and were surprised at how simple, straight forward and well organised the process is.

“We know that mid-week, daytime appointments don’t suit everyone so we have ramped up our weekend clinics and are providing walk in vaccinations with no appointment necessary.  It’s important that we get as many first doses done as possible before the expected short term dip in vaccine supply.

“As a country and a county, we need a critical mass of people vaccinated in order to have the level of protection in society that will help us get offices, shops, pubs and restaurants open. 

“The summer is coming and we want to protect people now so they can enjoy more freedom during the warm weather and feel safe as we start mixing in larger groups again.”

Following the success of the Beccles drop-in clinic last Sunday we know that people value the convenience of turning up for a weekend slot without having to make an appointment.  That’s why we are flexing our vaccination delivery model to respond to what our patients want and need.

New, additional clinics are being set up to manage the expected demand for vaccinations this weekend:

  • West Norfolk – Manor Farm Medical Centre, Swaffham, PE37 7QN, Friday 26 March, 9am-12:30pm and Saturday 27 March, 8am to 12:30pm, no appointment necessary
  • West Norfolk – King’s Lynn - Inspire Centre at Queen Elizabeth Hospital 8.30am to 7.30pm this Friday, 26 March – drop-in vaccination service, no appointment necessary. Alternatively, you can call 01553 214530 to book a slot at this clinic
  • West Norfolk – Downham Market Town Hall, Bridge Street, Downham Market, PE38 9DW, Monday 29 March, Thursday 1 April, Monday 5 April, 8:30am to 2pm, no appointment necessary
  • North Norfolk – Cromer Hospital – vaccination clinic Saturday, 27 March. Book online in advance at apps.norfolk.gov.uk/carervax or just turn up between 10am and 2pm
  • East Coast – Gorleston – James Paget Hospital – Sunday 28 March, 9am to 4pm, drop-in vaccination service, no appointment necessary.

In addition to these extra appointments and clinics, over the next couple of weeks, patients over the age of 50 can also proactively call their GP practice to book a vaccine or go online to the national booking system and book an appointment at one of the large scale vaccination centres at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/

If patients have an appointment already booked over the coming weeks, it is important those appointments are kept and attended rather than a drop-in appointment being selected as a substitute.

Dr Anoop Dhesi, Clinical Chair & Local GP, NHS Norfolk and Waveney Commissioning Group, said: “As a local GP, I encourage everyone over the age of 50 to contact their GP to book an appointment or visit one of the drop-in clinics this weekend.

“We want to ensure that as many people are able to access a vaccination at their earliest convenience as it one of the key things people can do to help protect themselves and others. We’re also keen that anyone over the age of 16 who is clinically extremely vulnerable that hasn’t yet had or booked their vaccine to contact their GP practice.”

“It is also important to reassure everyone that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and have been through extensive, international testing; I encourage everyone who hasn’t yet accepted their invitation to do this urgently to protect themselves and others.

“Finally, I would also like to take this opportunity to remind people that are due to have their second dose to make sure they attend their appointment.”

 

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