More people in the high priority groups in Somerset are being invited to have their COVID-19 vaccinations this week as two more sites are launched in the county.
Vaccinations are beginning this week at a further GP-led community site and in a new hospital hub at Musgrove Park Hospital.
Vaccinations are now being offered at 12 sites across the county – at ten GP-led community sites and at hospital hubs at both Musgrove Park Hospital and at Yeovil District Hospital – and teams of vaccinators are also vaccinating care home residents.
The Somerset programme is offering vaccinations to people in the high priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – care home residents and their carers, those aged 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers.
Andy Heron, joint senior responsible officer for the Somerset COVID-19 vaccination programme, said:
“This is very good news.
The vaccination programme in Somerset has ramped up very quickly and will continue to do so to ensure that we protect as many people whom the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has identified as a priority to receive the vaccine as possible.
Teams of clinicians, managers, administrators and volunteers from the NHS in Somerset, Somerset County Council and the voluntary sector are all working together to make this happen as quickly as possible.”
Clinicians are now vaccinating people from the new GP-led site; The Meadows Surgery in Ilminster which is part of the CLICK Primary Care Network that includes seven local GP surgeries.
Dr Christoph Kollmeier, GP partner from Langport Surgery, said:
“We are so pleased to be part of the COVID-19 vaccination programme and helping to protect our most vulnerable residents and health and social care staff.
We, and other GP-led hubs, are pulling out all the stops to invite people in as quickly as we can.
You can really help by not contacting us.
Please do not ring your GP surgery – we will contact you when it is your turn.”
This weekend vaccinations begin at Musgrove Park Hospital which will operate a vaccination hub seven days a week from next week.
Kate Allen, general outpatients’ sister for Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We’re looking forward to playing our part in the largest vaccination programme that the NHS has ever undertaken.
The addition of a second hospital hub in Somerset means that we can protect more people who are in the most at-risk groups against COVID-19.
Our colleagues have been working incredibly hard to get the hub up and running and we look forward to seeing those who have had their invitation for a vaccine over the coming weeks.”
Both the Pfizer Biotech and the newly approved Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines will be given in Somerset.
Dr Alex Murray, clinical director for Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:
“We welcome the MHRA approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine last week as it will help us to increase the number of people we can invite for vaccinations from the priority groups that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has identified.
However, local people can be confident that both vaccines are very effective and have been approved because they pass the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) tests on safety and efficacy. People should be assured that whatever vaccine they get will be highly effective and protect them from coronavirus.”
People are reminded that they will be contacted by the NHS directly to arrange a vaccination appointment.
Dr Alex Murray added:
“We would also like to thank everyone who is patiently waiting to be invited for a vaccination appointment, as we work through our patient lists in priority order as set out by the JCVI. Please don’t contact us or visit any of our sites to ask about your vaccination.
The NHS will contact you as soon as it is your turn to be invited.”