Latest COVID-19 vaccination updates

This page was updated on 20 May 2022.

Key messages

  • There is wide availability for appointments and walk ins over the Spring bank holiday
  • Families with five and six year olds have been invited for Covid jabs
  • This week is World Immunisation Week, NHS England is reminding people how important it is to keep up to date with routine vaccinations at all life stages.

People encouraged to have their spring booster

  • People who are over 75 or immunosuppressed and who have not yet had their spring booster are being encouraged to come forward for their latest Covid-19 vaccination.
  • School aged children also need to attend a vaccination clinic to have their first and second doses as the secondary school Covid-19 immunisation clinics have ended and there are currently no plans to vaccinate primary school aged children against Covid-19 in school
  • There is wide availability at vaccine clinics over the spring bank holiday

Letters arrive to families of 5 and 6 year olds

  • Invitations are arriving across the country at the homes of more than one million families with five and six-year-olds this week, as the NHS continues to deliver the biggest and most successful vaccination programme in its history.
  • Recent JCVI guidance recommended all children between 5 – 11 would benefit from a non-urgent offer of the Covid vaccine, helping protect against potential future waves of the virus, with almost five million youngsters now eligible.
  • The majority of vaccinations for this age group will take place at local vaccination centres or community pharmacies outside of school hours, and are available to book through the online booking serviceor by calling 119.
  • There are also convenient vaccine walk-ins across the country, and families can find which sites can vaccinate this age group by putting in their postcode online.
  • Families will be given a vaccination record card once their child has been vaccinated and are asked to keep this in a safe place. The vaccination record card provides the name of the vaccine, batch number and the date the vaccine was given.

World Immunisation Week

  • This week is World Immunisation Week (24-30 April). NHS England is reminding people how important it is to keep up to date with routine vaccinations at all life stages.
  • The annual event, which is championed by the World Health Organisation (WHO), promotes the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against preventable diseases – many of which are available through the NHS in England. It is important to know that vaccinations are rigorously tested to the highest safety standards.
  • Ranging from pre-school vaccinations like MMR, to flu and shingles vaccines for older age groups, all stages of the NHS vaccination schedule are vital for protecting the wider population’s health. This in turn, decreases pressure on the NHS and reduces hospital admissions.
  • If people didn’t manage to book their own or their child’s vaccine appointments when invited during the pandemic, they are urged to make an appointment with their GP practice.
  • More information on the NHS vaccination schedule is available here.

Anti-vaccination guidance

  • Within the wider Devon system, cases of anti-vax disruption have been steadily on the increase. As a system, our vaccination centres, local vaccination offers through our Primary Care, Community Pharmacies and Outreach service also seen a rise in activity at a local level.
  • We have seen persistent anti-vax activity, increasing in aggression and intimidation and impacting on vaccine take-up and the safety of patients and staff. Schools have already been targeted by individuals wishing to disrupt the vaccination/immunisation process as the programme moved into an education and learning setting and we are also aware of increasing anti-vax activity towards our care home partners.
  • We again would like to ask any anti vax disruptions that you experience (email, telephone, physical demonstration, face to face challenge) in your care setting outside are reported through a simple form, known as an ‘SBAR’.
  • Completion of the SBAR form will ensure that the issues that you have seen can be reported both nationally and locally, will support our Devon-wide intelligence gathering and also ensures that we can work with Devon and Cornwall Police to provide local support where needed.

Be aware of testing text scam

Be aware of text messages from ‘NHS no-reply’ asking people to click a link to buy COVID-19 tests.

These messages are fraudulent and have not originated from the NHS.

If you receive a text message similar to one shown, do not click any links and report it as scam by forwarding the message to 7726 (a national scheme for reporting suspicious texts for free).

For more information, visit the National Cyber Security Centre website.

The CCG is also working with its SMS provider to see if there is anything that can be done to block this scam.

NHS COVID pass for children aged 5 to 11 years

Children aged 5 to 11 years living in England, Wales or the Isle of Man who have had a full primary course of COVID-19 vaccination can now get an NHS COVID Pass letter for travel.

A person with legal responsibility for the child can request the letter on their behalf either online at nhs.uk or by calling the 119 service (0808 1624 119 for residents of the Isle of Man). The letter is not available via GP practices.

The letter is posted to the address on the child’s NHS record and will show all the COVID-19 vaccinations they have received. Further details can be found on the GOV.UK guidance pages.

How to get your Covid vaccination this summer

The spring booster programme draws to a close this month, but it’s not too late for people who are eligible to have their vaccination as clinics will still run over the summer.

People turning 75 on or after 1 July will not be eligible for the spring booster, however anyone who is eligible on 30th of June will still be able to have their vaccination during July. 

This means that anyone who is 75 and over, immunosuppressed or a resident of a care home for older people on 30th June will still be able to have their spring booster vaccination.   People who are immunosuppressed include those who are undergoing chemotherapy, have leukaemia or have had an organ transplant.  Patients in this group are being urged to come forward and can check with their GP or consultant if they are unsure whether they are eligible.

NHS Devon Chief Nurse Darryn Allcorn said: “We want to ensure that the people who are most at risk of Covid-19 are protected over the summer. We know people are more likely to socialise outside at this time of year, but Covid-19 is still in circulation.  If you haven’t yet had your spring booster, I would encourage you to book or visit one of our walk-in sessions.”

People who are housebound are being contacted to arrange vaccinations.  If people have any concerns or need support they can contact the Devon vaccination team by email on d-ccg.devonvaccinationsupport@nhs.net or call 01752 398836.

Meanwhile first second and first booster doses are still available this summer for anyone who has not yet had them. This includes people arriving in Devon from Ukraine, who can attend a walk-in centre. They do not need documentation nor an NHS number to have a vaccination.

Children aged 5 and over are eligible for two doses, which are not being provided in school, but through dedicated vaccination clinics around Devon.  

Vaccination appointments can be made online or by calling 119 and details of walk in clinics are available here.

A further booster is planned this autumn, in line with JCVI advice.

Signposting patients for vaccination

Our vaccination sites are seeing an increase in the number of patients who arrive at clinics presenting a letter from their GP who don’t meet the eligibility for vaccination either under Spring Booster criteria, early dosage or vaccine type.

This has caused a significant impact on our vaccination teams who are having lengthy discussions with patients regarding the reasons they are unable to vaccinate them under the legal framework if they do not meet the specified criteria set out within the green book, which can be found here.

This is also results in many patients feeling disappointed from receiving conflicting information.  We are making a plea to ask GP’s and Practices to ensure they consider carefully the following before signposting patients for vaccination:

  • Requests to be given an vaccine dose early for the purposes of travel are not permitted and will only be considered in exceptional circumstances on a case by case basis
  • Spring Booster eligibility can be found using the above link on page 28 and is defined as ● adults aged 75 years and over ● residents in a care home for older adults, and ● individuals aged 12 years and over who are immunosuppressed (defined as immunosuppressed in tables 3 or 4). This does not include those who are within the criteria of Clinically Extremely vulnerable.
  • AZ vaccine is not permitted to be given to those under the age of 40 due to clinical risks. The systems programme is delivering a majority of Moderna vaccines at present.  AZ should only be considered if the patient is unable to have an mRNA vaccine (Moderna or Pfizer). Choice of vaccine is not supported and should be based on a clinical need only.

Further information

For more information on vaccination and the health and care response to COVID-19, visit our COVID-19 pages or the NHS website.