We will leave no-one behind
Confusion over when and where people can access their Covid vaccinations has grown in recent weeks. The government has been keen to progress the roll out of invitations to the various age and at-risk groups, but local vaccination clinics are struggling to meet demand.
And now NHS England has said there will be a significant reduction in the supply of the vaccines during April, meaning the under 50s will have to wait until May for their jabs.
This will add to the pressure on staff at Amble Health Centre, who have already been frustrated by slow and irregular vaccine deliveries over past weeks.
“We will leave no one behind,” said Dr Burville from Coquet Medical Group on Twitter. “We will happily vaccinate all our patients (in priority order) as soon as we get adequate vaccine supplies.”
Coquet Medical Group says it needs 1400 doses of the vaccine every week in order to hit the government’s target of inviting everybody aged 50 or over in the Amble area for their first dose, by 15 April.
Currently, vaccination centres in Northumberland are being asked to prioritise patients in group six, while those in group five, and now people aged 50 and above, are invited to book appointments at the larger sites such as the Centre for Life in Newcastle, or the Nightingale hospital in Washington (Sunderland).
Understandably for many, travelling to Newcastle or Sunderland is difficult, but everyone is being reassured that they will still be able to get their jabs in Amble if they prefer. They may have to wait a little longer, but they will be seen as soon as possible.
Richard Hay, Head of Planning and Operations at Northumberland CCG, said: “We appreciate that it may be difficult for some Northumberland residents in group five, particularly those in more remote and rural areas, to get to the large vaccination centre at the Centre for Life in Newcastle. We would like to remind those in this group that they are able to get their vaccine locally.
“If people choose not to get their vaccine at the Centre for Life, they should wait until their GP practice contacts them to make an appointment. These appointments won’t be offered as quickly as those from the large vaccination centre, so we ask people to please be patient and they should not call their GP practice. We would like to assure people that they will not be missed.”
More recently, those aged over 50 have been told they are now eligible for their vaccination, and asked to contact the NHS website to book their appointments. However there have been many reports of patients finding it difficult to secure appointments for both first and second vaccinations, or they are offered a place as far away as Brighton.
To add to the pressure, second vaccinations are also taking place from the middle of March.
This has resulted in a huge increase in people contacting the Amble clinic, asking when they can make an appointment. Coquet Medical Group are pleading with people NOT to contact the surgery asking for vaccination appointments. They want to reassure everyone that they will be contacted as soon as it is possible.
As of 16 March, residents in all three care homes in the Amble area have been fully vaccinated with their second doses.