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Prioritising covid protection for the most clinically vulnerable

 The vaccination booster programme is now underway across Norfolk and Waveney with a third covid vaccine being offered to eligible patient groups in line with national and JCVI guidance. 

Priority for third doses is being given to those who are immunosuppressed or identified on patient records as being Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, as these patients are less likely to have retained anti-bodies from their first vaccines.  Hospital consultants and local GPs are working closely together to ensure that these very vulnerable patients are contacted as soon as possible to make an appointment for their third vaccine.

Dr Anoop Dhesi, local GP and Clinical Chair at NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG, said: “We know that there are a number of very vulnerable patients who are understandably very keen to get their third vaccine, not only for the additional protection but also for their peace of mind. 

“Please be reassured that we are working as fast as we can to make sure those most at risk of covid are contacted first.  This means drawing on both hospital patient lists and GP patient lists but this work is ongoing and patients should be hearing from the local NHS in the coming days and weeks to get booked in. This is the largest and most complex vaccination programme the NHS has ever delivered, but everyone eligible who needs a third dose will get one.”

The following groups are also among the first eligible cohorts for a booster vaccine:

  • those living in residential care homes for older adults
  • all adults aged 50 years or over
  • frontline health and social care workers including those who work in residential and nursing homes for older adults
  • all those aged 16 to 49 years with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 (as set out in the green book), and adult carers
  • adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals

These individuals will be contacted by the NHS or their local GP practice and offered a booster (third) dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, in the same cohort order as the initial vaccination programme was rolled out. 

Health and care providers and employers are currently compiling list of all their frontline staff who require booster vaccinations and these individuals will either be vaccinated at clinics provided within their workplaces or will be directed to clinics at other local vaccination centres.

Added Dr Dhesi: “It is vital that anyone eligible for a booster waits to be contacted by the NHS to make an appointment.  Our GP practices continue to be incredibly busy and keeping their phone lines open for patients to make appointments with their doctor or practice nurse is crucial.  Please do not telephone your GP practice asking when you will get your booster – the NHS will contact you when it’s your turn.”

“Even if you are eligible for a booster, please do not attend any of our walk in vaccination clinics.  They are still focused on vaccinating remaining people with first and second doses and cannot currently provide third (booster) jabs.”

A third vaccination offers vital protection by boosting the antibodies in the body that fight Covid-19.  There is evidence that antibodies decrease over time and that a booster should be offered six months after the second vaccine has been given

The winter months and colder weather brings an increase in respiratory viruses in the community.  The booster programme will help keep people out of hospital with serious covid-related illness during what is always a busier season for the NHS.

Health and care system leaders are also reminding people not to attend any health care setting – including GP practices and walk in centres if they – or the person they are caring for - have symptoms of Covid-19.  The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

If you have any of these symptoms, get a PCR test (test that is sent to a lab) to check if you have coronavirus and stay at home until you get your result, even if the symptoms are mild.  You can book a PCR test here:  https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/antigen/essential-worker

Latest published data shows that 93% of people in Norfolk and Waveney have had one vaccine dose and 88% have now had two doses. 

This sees Norfolk and Waveney ranking as the seventh highest performing health and care system in England for people having had two doses of vaccine – out of 42 health and care systems nationally.  More than 17,000 people under the age of 18 have now had a first vaccination.

There’s still time for people to get their first and second vaccine doses - anyone aged 16 and over can get a vaccine at a variety of different walk-in clinics over the weekend and into next week. To find the latest walk-in vaccine clinics taking place across Norfolk and Waveney, visit  https://apps.norfolk.gov.uk/WalkIn/Form/AllAvailableClinics

 

Ends

 

Note to editors:

Data released on 23 September by NHS England and Improvement shows that Norfolk and Waveney is continuing to perform strongly in the national vaccination roll out. So far, 93% of people aged 18 and above have had one vaccine, while 88% have had both doses. This compares with national figures of 89% and 83% respectively.  Norfolk and Waveney is ranked seventh out of 42 health and care systems for the number of people having had two doses. The data also shows that more than 17,500 people aged under 18 have already received one dose of the vaccine.

The latest information regarding the vaccination of children and young people aged 12-17 can be found on the NHS Norfolk and Waveney CCG website here: https://www.norfolkandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk/covid/children-and-young-people-12-17-years-covid-19-vaccination.  All 12-15 year olds will be offered a vaccination (with parental consent) through schools in the coming weeks, in line with national guidance. 

First and second dose vaccine 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. Alternatively, you can visit a walk in centre. To find the latest walk-in vaccine clinics taking place across Norfolk and Waveney, visit: https://apps.norfolk.gov.uk/WalkIn/Form/AllAvailableClinics

Booster jabs (third doses) are by invitation only.  Please do not contact your GP or attend a walk in centre.  You will be invited for your booster by the NHS.

You do not have to be registered with a GP or have a NHS number to be vaccinated, but it is not yet possible to book an appointment via the NBS without one. For those not registered with a GP or without an NHS number, a growing number of walk-in and pop-up sites are available. Anyone in the UK can choose to register with a GP.

If you have it, please take with you your NHS number 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.

Before your vaccination: Don't forget to keep hydrated (bring some bottled water with you) and have something to eat before you come!

For more information about the vaccination programme and for information about vaccines for children and young people visit: https://www.norfolkandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk/covid/children-and-young-people-12-17-years-covid-19-vaccination

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