Hundreds of residents aged 80 and over will receive their first COVID-19 immunisation at a vaccination centre near their homes this week.
GP-led local vaccination centres are beginning to open their doors in Hertfordshire, with more to follow next week and early in the new year.
In line with national guidance and to protect those who are the most as risk first, the vaccine is initially being offered to people aged over 80.
GP practices are working through their patient lists and will contact people when it is their turn to be vaccinated.
Getting the vaccine to all those in the priority groups will take some time and the virus will continue to present a risk for some time.
We can all play our part to assist the vaccination programme by, waiting to be contacted by the NHS – you will be invited to an appointment when it is your turn, remembering the NHS will never ask you to pay for a COVID-19 vaccination, attending both of your booked appointment and continuing to follow all the guidance to control the spread of the virus and save lives.
In the Herts Valleys CCG area, vaccination centres opening this week include:
- Batchwood Club for practices across St Albans
- Sheepcot Surgery for practices in North Watford
- Colne Surgery for practices in Rickmansworth and Chorleywood
- Bridgewater House for practices in Watford and Garston
Dr Bruce Covell GP, of Parkbury House Surgery in St Albans and one of the organisers of the Batchwood site, said: “General Practices across St Albans have come together to work collaboratively to offer a community-focussed COVID vaccination service.
“It has taken a huge team effort to turn around our premises, involving not only our practice and other NHS staff, but also St Albans District and Herts County Councils, voluntary agencies, the fire service, local police, local schools and supermarkets.
“GP practices will be inviting patients in to receive their vaccine, following a strict eligibility list, starting with our oldest patients first. Together, our teams bring years of experience and knowledge delivering vaccination programmes. Please be patient and wait until you are contacted with further details on how to book in with us.”
Dr Simon Hodes GP, of Bridgewater Surgery in Watford said: “The COVID vaccine programme is the largest vaccination campaign in NHS history. Locally, our practice teams across Watford have been working tirelessly to get all the elements in place, from fridges to parking signs, to ensure we have got a safe and efficient system for vaccinating patients, whilst maintaining all our usual service.
“You can help by waiting to be contacted by us and not ringing to ask for a vaccination appointment. Don’t worry – we will be getting in touch with all eligible patients.
“The entire medical profession is very excited to see this safe and effective vaccine arrive to help protect our patients. Hopefully this is the beginning of the final phase of the pandemic.”
Everyone who is vaccinated will need a booster jab after 21 days. It takes a few weeks after getting the second dose for the person’s antibodies to reach their optimum level.
You can find out more about the vaccine and how it works by reading the information from Public Health England which is available on this website enhertsccg.nhs.uk/covid-19-vaccination-information