Covid-19 vaccine update 18 Mar 2021

18 March 2021

50 and over – book your vaccine now

Yesterday the Government announced that everyone aged 50 and over can now book their first vaccine through the national booking service. Text invitations and letters will be sent from the national team. You may also recieve invitations from local GP-run services.

Between now and mid-April the NHS will be focusing on giving first doses (and second doses if due) to people aged 50 and over and those who are clinically vulnerable. 

If you are in these groups please do take the opportunity to get vaccinated now. For this week and next we have very good supplies and plenty of capacity across our vaccination services.

Vaccines are safe and make you safe

There are now more then 25 million people in the UK vaccinated with a first dose, and 1.7 million with two doses. This has provided extensive evidence that the vaccines are safe and effective at preventing the worst effects of Covid-19 and reducing transmission of the virus to other people. 

Recent data shows that after a single dose of either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccine, protection against getting Covid-19 is around 60%, protection against hospitalisation is around 80% and protection against death is around 85%. Additionally, those living with someone who has been vaccinated have a 30% lower risk of catching Covid-19.

The vaccines protect you, your loved ones and other vulnerable people you may come into contact with. Please take up the offer and get vaccinated when you can.

Dr Phil Bryan, MHRA Vaccines Safety Lead said:

"The benefits of the vaccine in preventing Covid-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, far outweigh the risks of side effects. People should go and get their Covid-19 vaccine when asked to do so.

"It is still the case that it has not been confirmed the reported blood clots were caused by the Covid-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon."

All unpaid carers can now use the national booking service

The national booking service has been updated so all unpaid carers can use the online service to check their eligibility and book a vaccine from a large vaccination centre or pharmacy service. The online booking will ask you a series of questions about your carer responsibilities to confirm you are eligible. Or you can call 119 to talk to someone and make a booking.

You must be over 18 to book using the national booking service. Young carers aged 16 and 17 are eligible for the vaccine however at present only the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine is authorised for people aged under 18 years old. Eligible 16 or 17-year-olds should contact their GP to arrange a vaccine. Pfizer supplies may vary across different GP services so they may not be able to give an exact date for a vaccination.

Vaccine pilot supports people with learning disability

Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust and two of our GP-run vaccination services have launched a pilot scheme to make it easier for people with a learning disability and/or autism to get vaccinated. East Kent Mencap shared its resource centre in Ramsgate to host a pop-up vaccination centre and a similar clinic ran at the Lordswood Healthy Living Centre in Medway. Read more here.

Mr Proctor, whose son, Lee, visited the Medway clinic, had nothing but praise for the service. He said:

“The whole process was seamless and this was down to the understanding of the needs of my son. The nurses made Lee feel relaxed and not rushed and all of the adjustments for him made the whole process great. I cannot thank the nurses enough, we are so grateful for the support. I am over the moon to know that my son is now a little bit more protected against the virus.”

More charities provide information on the vaccine and health conditions

The list of charities working with the NHS to explain the vaccine for people with specific health conditions has grown since we last mentioned it. There are now 18 conditions covered from Arthritis through to Stroke. See the full list here.

Vaccines given:


First dose

  • over 80 years 93,875
  • 75-79 years 70,823
  • 70-74 years 96,486
  • 65-69 years 86,720
  • 60-64 years 88,392
  • 55-59 years 61,628
  • Under 55 years 192,800

Second dose

  • over 80 years 23,138
  • 75-79 years 1,197
  • 70-74 years 762
  • 65-69 years 1,136
  • 60-64 years 2,402
  • 55-59 years 3,252
  • Under 55 years 14,591

Up to 14 March 2021. Figures are published weekly on Thursday afternoons by NHS England.

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