The NHS in Devon is giving details on the different ways local people can access the life-saving coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination in the county, as thousands of people are vaccinated every day.
Like other areas, the vaccination programme in Devon is focussed on vaccinating people in priority groups 1-4, as determined nationally by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and in line with the Government ambition of vaccinating these groups by mid-February. These four groups are
- All residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
- All those 75 years of age and over
- All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
Darryn Allcorn, Lead Chief Nurse for Devon and Chief Nurse at Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Vaccination is the way out of lockdown and the pandemic. An effective vaccine is the best way to protect people from coronavirus and we have a clear vaccine delivery plan.”
How people are accessing the vaccination
- Local hospital services – All four of the county’s main hospitals in Plymouth, Exeter, Torquay and Barnstaple are giving the vaccination by appointment to priority groups in line with national guidance. Arrangements at the hospitals vary.
- Local GP services – GP practices are working together to contact and offer the vaccine to their patients. Across Devon, 20 GP-led centres are now in operation, serving all 123 of Devon’s GP practices. Patients may be called to a different practice than their usual surgery, or to a venue set up specially to deliver vaccines.
- Practices are also visiting people in priority groups 1-4 who cannot leave their home, to deliver the vaccination.
- Practices are at different stages in vaccinating the priority groups they serve for a number of reasons, including: they started vaccinating at different times, some have a higher proportion of older people on their lists than others, and capacity varies between sites due to vaccine supply, the size of the site and the number of staff available
- As the practices complete the first four groups, they will start to progress with the next ones, and people in these groups will be contacted when that time comes.
- In a limited number of cases, GPs are holding day clinics at additional practice sites to help make access to vaccination services easier for people living in rural or isolated areas.
- Through care homes – GPs, their teams and local authorities are working together to vaccinate care home residents and staff in the homes – and at least 97% have now received a visit.
- Using the national NHS COVID-19 Vaccination Booking Service – people who receive a letter from the national booking system are invited to book an appointment online or by phone to have the vaccine at an NHS Vaccination Centre (in Plymouth and Exeter), or a community pharmacy if these are available locally*.
- People aged 70 and above, and people who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, can use the national booking system – by visiting the website or calling 119 – to book an appointment at an NHS Vaccination Centre or participating pharmacy centre whether or not they have received a letter.
- People can check the timing or location of an appointment made through the national booking system or cancel an appointment, under ‘manage my booking’ section of the website. To help avoid wastage, it is really important to cancel an appointment if you get vaccinated somewhere else.
- Anyone who cannot or does not want to travel to one of the larger sites can be vaccinated by their local GP service – just wait for a letter, phonecall, text or email, which will arrive when it’s their turn.
- If a patient receives a letter from a large-scale Vaccination Centre, it does not mean they have been taken off their GP list.
- The national booking system, local GP practice or hospital hub may call from a withheld number.
Dr Paul Johnson, local GP and Clinical Chair of NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “If you can’t get to a large site, wait for your GP practice to contact you. If you get a letter and a call – you can choose which site is easier for you to attend.”
People who aren’t registered with a GP should register as soon as they can. This will ensure they are invited for the coronavirus vaccination when it’s their turn. Details of local GP practice are available on the NHS website.
Appointments for second doses in Devon will be delivered in accordance with national guidance.
Darryn Allcorn added: “Anyone who has had the vaccine must continue to follow government guidance on social distancing and wearing a mask, as immunity takes weeks to develop.
“This will be a marathon, not a sprint, and people cannot let their guard down. Please stay at home where you can and follow all the rules to stop the spread of coronavirus.”