Top four priority groups offered the vaccine
The NHS met its first national milestone in the vaccination programme this week by offering vaccinations to all patients aged over 70, those on the shielded patient list, older adults in care homes and frontline health and social care workers.
Together, this achievement means we have protected 455,910 people from the worst effects of this deadly virus.
Thank you to everyone who has been involved in the most complex and important health intervention of our lifetimes – this was an ambitious target and it would not have been possible without the collective effort of so many people across the Kent and Medway health and care system.
If you have not yet had your first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine and are either 70 years and older, on the shielded patient list (considered clinically extremely vulnerable) or a frontline health and social care worker, you can book your first dose appointment through the national booking system. You can book online or by phoning 119.
More people are now eligible and being invited for vaccine
The NHS is now offering vaccinations to people aged over 65 and those who have underlying health conditions.
These two groups are cohorts five and six as indicated by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI.)
Cohort five is people aged 65 to 69. If you are in this group, you will receive a letter from the national booking service and you can book an appointment at one of our large vaccination sites or community pharmacy services.
Cohort six includes people aged 16 to 64 with certain underlying health conditions and they will be invited by their GP surgery for a vaccination appointment.
This government guidance explains who is eligible as part of cohort six (from page 10 onwards), including:
• Adults aged 16 to 65 years in an at-risk group, which includes: Chronic respiratory disease, chronic heart disease and vascular disease, chronic kidney disease, chronic liver disease, chronic neurological disease, including severe or profound learning disability, diabetes mellitus, immunosuppression, asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen, morbid obesity, severe mental illness
• Younger adults in long-stay in-patient, nursing and residential care settings
• Carers - those who receive carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of: An elderly or disabled person, someone who has a severe mental illness or whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.
Carers will be invited either by the national booking system or by their GP for a vaccination appointment. To be invited for a vaccination as a carer of someone who is clinically vulnerable, you will need to be registered as a carer with your local authority (council) or on your GP record.
There are significant numbers of people in the next two cohorts to be vaccinated and we will shortly begin offering second doses to people 12 weeks after their first dose. Our teams are working very hard to vaccinate people quickly and safely. Please continue to be patient – we won’t leave anyone behind who wants a vaccine and is eligible for one.
Large vaccination site to open in Thanet
A fourth large-scale vaccination centre will open in Thanet next week.
From Monday, 22 February, patients will be able to have a vaccination at the former Saga call centre, in Haine Road, Ramsgate.
Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT), which is co-ordinating and leading the large vaccination centres in Kent and Medway, has already opened three centres in Folkestone, Gravesend and Tonbridge.
Like Folkestone, Gravesend and Tonbridge, the Thanet centre will be open to people aged 65 and over.
Invitations to people in priority cohort five (over 65s) have been sent this week. You can make an appointment by phoning 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination.
Anyone who is in a higher priority cohort (over 70, clinically extremely vulnerable or health and social care staff), who has not yet chosen to have their first dose, can also book an appointment through the national booking system at one of these sites.