Folkestone large vaccination centre open, and more to follow
On Tuesday this week (26 January), doors opened at the first large-scale Covid-19 vaccination centre in Kent. The Folkestone centre is the first of a number of centres for Kent and Medway. A second centre will open next week and details of further centres will follow.
The new large-scale centres will be capable of delivering thousands of vaccinations each week, scaling their operations up and down according to vaccine supplies and demand.
Please do not visit the centres without an appointment. You will receive a letter from the NHS inviting you when it’s your turn. If anyone has already received a jab elsewhere or would prefer to wait to be invited to GP service, they can simply ignore the letter.
Find out what to expect at the large vaccination centres. These centres are run by Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust.
GP led services
There are now active vaccination services covering all 200 GP practices across Kent and Medway. GP teams are working together to provide vaccine services through our 42 Primary Care Networks. For those services which started later in the programme we are working to ensure everyone in the top four priority groups are vaccinated by mid-February.
- Medway Peninsula - GP led service started today from Wainscott.
- Sandwich – over 900 residents from Sandwich were vaccinated yesterday (27 January) from a clinic in Broadstairs. Residents from the Sandwich area will also continue to be invited to the Dover based vaccination site.
- Deal – a vaccination clinic for the most frail, vulnerable and unable to access the Dover site will be run from the Balmoral surgery. Residents who can travel are advised to accept appointments at Dover whenever possible to ensure timely vaccination.
AstraZeneca vaccine means more places to get vaccinated
With more supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine now arriving GP-led services are able to distribute supplies to other sites in their network. More than 35 additional sites have already been approved and more are likely to follow.
There are still some limitations on where the vaccine can be provided from, which means it is not possible to offer the vaccine from every GP surgery. But this wider distribution is helping address areas where distances to the official vaccination services are greater and to increase the number of people who can be vaccinated.
From today (28 January) the Sevenoaks Pharmacy was the first community pharmacy in Kent and Medway to join the Covid-19 vaccination programme. Other pharmacies are starting between 30 January and 4 February. All bookings for these services must be through the national Covid-19 vaccine booking service.
Health and care staff vaccinations
There are seven vaccination sites being run by our hospital and community trusts across Kent and Medway. These are mainly focussing on vaccinating frontline health and care staff, including a wide range of social care staff and others identified as part of the top four priority groups. Details of frontline health and care staff entitled to the vaccine now are available in this document (page 11). If you are in these groups please speak to your employer about how to arrange a vaccine. Further information has been circulated widely this week.
There are 332 older peoples’ care homes in Kent and Medway which are within the priority homes to be vaccinated by the end of January. The vast majority (295) were completed by last Sunday and eight more are being completed by the end of this week. The remaining 29 homes are partially completed due to some residents with confirmed Covid-19 not yet able to have the vaccine. People need to wait four weeks after testing positive for Covid-19 before being vaccinated. Teams will return to these homes to complete the vaccination as soon as possible.
In total there are over 600 care homes supporting older people and younger residents with different needs. Those homes with younger residents are not in this initial phase of vaccinations but will be covered in future.
As awful as it seems, there are some people who are using the vaccine programme to con others into giving personal details and/or money as part of bogus vaccine booking offers. The vaccine is only available through official NHS services and is free to everyone.
- The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details.
- The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password.
- The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine.
- The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.
If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If a text looks dodgy delete it. If you are on social media, search hashtags like #vaccinescam or #covidscam to see images and details of scams that other people have spotted.
Rescheduled vaccine clinics
There have been a small number of occasions where booked appointments had to be rescheduled. The inconvenience to patients and the clinical teams running services is unfortunate; but there have been relatively few instances and the vaccine teams have worked extremely hard to rearrange clinics when this has been necessary. With a national programme of this scale, using an entirely new infrastructure, some logistical challenges are to be expected.
What’s in the vaccines?
There are no animal products in either the Pfizer or AstraZeneca vaccines and both vaccines are considered inactivated i.e. not what are sometimes referred to as “live vaccines”.
If you would like to understand more about the vaccines you can read this document. It is designed mainly for clinicians but provides detail for those that would like to read more.
Vaccine intentions survey
From mid-December to mid-January we ran an online survey asking people if they intended to have the vaccine, and if they were undecided was there more information they would like.
We have over 4,000 responses and the overwhelming majority (89%) said they would definitely have the vaccine. Just 4% said definitely not and 7% were undecided. We are reviewing the comments provided in more detail and will publish a report on the outcomes shortly.