Bring your vaccine worries and questions to the bus – we’re listening
The covid vaccination programme has been the fastest and most successful immunisation roll out in history. Norfolk and Waveney has performed strongly throughout, and is ranked fourth out of 42 health and care systems nationwide for the number of people having had both doses of vaccine. Almost 1.5 million doses of vaccine have been given across Norfolk and Waveney, with more than 23,000 of these in the last week.
According to NHS England data published today, a staggering 92% of local people aged 18+ now have at least some of the protection offered by vaccination - and 78% of the population are now double jabbed. Despite their achievements so far, local NHS organisations and local authority partners are still determined that no one wanting a vaccine will be left behind.
Says Cath Byford, Chief Nurse, NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group: “Of the remaining 8% of people without any vaccination in Norfolk and Waveney, there will be a significant number of people who really want a vaccine but - for whatever reason - just can’t face it or are struggling to get themselves to a vaccination centre.
“We are urging anyone who needs extra support in getting a vaccine to contact us so we can help them work through any issues or concerns and offer them a vaccination in a location or environment they are comfortable with.”
Charlotte (21), from Lowestoft is just one person who plucked up the courage to contact us for support.
Says Charlotte: “My anxiety built up over several weeks and I was dreading getting a text to say it was my turn for a vaccine. I have hated needles and injections since high school, so this felt like a big deal to me. When the texts came, I just ignored them and hoped it would all go away.
“But deep down I knew that getting vaccinated was the best thing to do to protect myself and the older members of my family – I work in a busy environment, with lots of people coming and going, so the infection risk is high.
“Two weeks ago, I bit the bullet and contacted the NHS for advice, I thought: ‘this is my moment, if I don’t do it now I probably never will’. They arranged for me to speak to someone from the local vaccination centre over the phone who talked me through the process, step by step, in advance. I went along, was met at the door and it was all over in just a few minutes. The team at the vaccination centre were simply amazing, they calmed my nerves and got me through it. I am so pleased to be vaccinated and I can’t believe I did it! I’d urge anyone who felt like I did to grab the moment and go for it. The vaccination teams have been working on this for months now and they know what they are doing – the support is there; you just need to ask for it.”
Charlotte’s story is one of many that has prompted the launch of a ‘Worry Bus’ that sees our roving vaccination team hit the road offering a special service to those with concerns or anxieties about needles, vaccines, crowded spaces, clinical settings, pregnancy, fertility or anything at all that is holding them back.
The Worry Bus will be parked up at the UEA Sportspark in Norwich this Saturday 7 August and again on Sunday 15 August. Specially trained clinical staff from Norfolk Community Health and Care (NCHC) NHS Trust will be on hand between 11am and 5pm to discuss a range of issues without pressure or judgement and give people the time and space to talk through any worries they have.
The Worry Bus will be located alongside a pop-up drop-in vaccination clinic (also 11am to 5pm) for anyone who chooses to take up the offer of a vaccine the same day. The drop-in clinic will offer first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine to anyone attending aged 18+ - and as of today those aged 17 and within three months of their 18th birthday are also eligible. The team can provide supported vaccines for those with additional needs, but there will be no pressure to have a vaccine.
If you can’t get to Norwich there’s still plenty on offer for those who feel they need more information or support:
Cath Byford adds: “Now the vast majority of people have already had a vaccine, our drop-in vaccination centres tend to be quieter, particularly Monday to Friday. This means the atmosphere is calmer and our clinical staff have more time to spend 1-2-1 with people who want to talk before deciding to have a vaccine.
“We can arrange for you to have your vaccination in a quiet space, away from other people and put in place the support you need to make you comfortable. Our teams are also trained in providing help to people who have needle phobia or general anxiety – they do a fantastic job in making people feel relaxed and safe.”
To find a walk in (no appointment) vaccination centre near you, visit: https://apps.norfolk.gov.uk/WalkIn/Form/AllAvailableClinics or search the list of clinics here: https://apps.norfolk.gov.uk/WalkIn
Notes to Editors:
Comprehensive information about the local vaccination programme, including information in languages others than English, can be found here: https://norfolkandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk/covid/covid-vaccinations
According to data published today by NHS England and NHS Improvement 92% of people aged over 18 in Norfolk and Waveney have received their first dose, putting us eighth out of the 42 health and care systems in England. Some 88% of adults in England have received their first dose.
Some 78% of people aged over 16 in Norfolk and Waveney have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, compared to 62% of adults in England. This puts us fourth out of the 42 health and care systems for second doses.
Almost a 1.5 million doses of vaccine (1,422,534) have been given in Norfolk and Waveney. In the week to 1 August, 23,623 doses were given of which 2,989 were first doses and 20,634 were second doses.
Health leaders in Norfolk and Waveney are reminding people that they must wait a full eight weeks after their first vaccination before attending for their second. This is inline with national NHS guidance which recommends an interval of -12 weeks in order to receive the maximum possible, longer-lasting protection from the vaccines.
University students returning home for the summer are also encouraged to book their vaccination as soon as they get back, whilst there is plenty of vaccine supply and they can get a jab quickly, close to their family home.
Getting the vaccine is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves, our families and our communities against COVID-19. The vaccine has been tested by scientists and researchers world-wide and every vaccine has gone through thorough checks.
Appointments can be booked through the national booking service by visiting nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or telephoning 119. When invited, people can book at one of the vaccination centre, pharmacy or general practice sites that are available through the national booking service.
Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’, including a web link to the NHS website to reserve an appointment.
If you can’t find an appointment at a vaccination site close to where you live please keep checking the national booking system for the latest local vaccination slots as these are being regularly updated. Please do not contact your local GP practice. You will be contacted when it’s the right time.
A number of pharmacy sites are also offering COVID-19 vaccinations to people who are eligible, providing more choice and flexibility for people to book their appointments. These sites and more information is available here: https://apps.norfolk.gov.uk/WalkIn/Form/AllAvailableClinics
If you have it, please take your NHS number with you to your vaccination appointment to help the vaccination team book you in quickly (please see here). But don’t worry if you don’t have an NHS number or are not registered with a GP / local doctor, you can still get vaccinated.
You do NOT need to show identification (ID) to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and you do not need to give your full name or address. It does not matter whether you are a UK citizen or what your immigration status is, how long you have been here or how long you expect to stay.
Anyone aged 18+ can have a vaccination, we want to vaccinate as many people as we can and we want to make getting a vaccine as easy as possible for you.
Before your vaccination: Don't forget to keep hydrated (bring some bottled water with you) and have something to eat before you come!
You will be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, in line with national guidance. If you’ve already had your first dose of vaccine, whichever vaccine you have had, please go for your second to get the maximum possible protection for longer.
Following national guidance and in line with all areas of the country, everyone over the age of 18 is now having their second dose within an eight week window of their first.
If you are already over the eight-week window since your first dose, please get your second dose as soon as possible by visiting a walk-in centre or booking via the national booking system.
A single dose of the vaccine provides a good level of protection from COVID-19, but the second dose is important to ensure maximum, longer-lasting protection.
COVID-19 vaccination status
From 17 May 2021, people in England who have had a full course of the COVID-19 vaccine will be able to demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccination status for international travel. A full course is currently two doses of any approved vaccine. People can prove their vaccination status:
Public urged to continue playing their part
Millions of people are already benefiting from protection from the virus. But NHS staff are still having to work hard to deliver the largest vaccination drive in our history, at the same time as providing care for everyone who needs it.
So we need the public to continue to play their part too:
- unless you have been invited before, please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you when it is the right time;
- please attend your booked appointments at exactly the time you’re asked to, and make sure you come back for your second dose;
- and whether you have had your vaccine or not, please continue to follow all the guidance in place to control the virus and save lives.
More information about the vaccination programme can be found here: https://www.norfolkandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk/covid-19-vaccination-programme