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Norfolk vaccine push goes into overdrive

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Health and social care staff are working round the clock to get booster jabs to those who need them, with a total of more than two million life-saving Covid-19 vaccines delivered to date in Norfolk and Waveney.

The health and care system’s priority is to deliver boosters as safely and quickly as possible due to concerns about the spread of the new Omicron variant of the virus.

To help increase access to booster vaccinations quickly and make getting your vaccination easier and more convenient, walk-in vaccination clinics are likely to be reintroduced in the coming days and weeks in specific areas of Norfolk and Waveney where there is a local need and the workforce available.

A Covid-19 jab is prepared. Picture: PA (53779856)
A Covid-19 jab is prepared. Picture: PA (53779856)

Other options in the pipeline to expand the rapid rollout locally include ‘drive-through’ or ‘pop-up’ vaccination clinics.

Many vaccination sites across Norfolk and Waveney are already operating 12 hours a day, seven days a week, with more existing vaccination sites set to join them, as local health and care staff rally to support the Herculean national effort. Local GP practices are also contacting patients directly to book people in.

Howard Martin, director of population health management and health inequalities at NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Currently we are advising people that booking is still the best option to get your vaccine and would urge everyone eligible to book an appointment by going to nhs.uk/covidvaccine or calling the free 119 phone line.

“We know that the national booking system is in high demand, but if you have any difficulties finding an appointment in a place or a time suitable for you, please keep trying. New slots are added throughout the day, every day.”

Mr Martin added: “This next phase of the vaccination programme is by far the most complex and challenging to date and delivering these life-saving vaccines as safely and quickly as possible is top of our Christmas list.

“We are looking to increase more flexibility for local people so they can access their booster vaccine more conveniently and quickly. This is likely to mean re-opening walk-in vaccination clinics in specific areas of Norfolk and Waveney where there is a local need and we have the vaccinators available.

“Our health and care staff across Norfolk and Waveney are once again pulling out all the stops to accelerate the vaccination programme, and we continue to urge everyone to be patient and respectful to all staff while the COVID-19 vaccination programme continues at pace.

“I would also urge local people to keep a close eye on the CCG website and social media pages for further updates and other local opportunities to get a booster vaccine. These are the best channels for information and are updated regularly.

“If you do attend a planned and advertised walk-in vaccination clinic over the coming days please wrap up warm and be prepared to wait. Please also remember to cancel any booked appointments once you’ve received your booster so that the appointment can be given to someone else.

“A massive thank you to all our staff and volunteers for going above and beyond in the run up to Christmas. We couldn’t do this with your dedication and willingness to get the job done.”

The encouragement to get a booster comes as the latest nationally published data shows that up to Sunday 12 December:

94 per cent or 784,230 adults in Norfolk and Waveney had received their first dose, compared to 91per cent of adults nationally.

91 per cent or 759,633 adults had also received their second dose, compared to 87 per cent of adults nationally.

76.9 per cent or 15,731 people between 16- to 17-year-olds had received one dose, compared to 67.5 per cent nationally.

56.1 per cent or 24,834 people between 12- to15-year-olds had received one dose, compared to 48.4% nationally.

419,968 people had received a booster or third primary dose, which equates to 50 per cent of adults 18-plus, compared to 40.7 per cent nationally

Those currently eligible for booster vaccinations, three months after their second dose are:

Those aged 18-plus, people who live and work in care homes,frontline health and care workers, clinically extremely vulnerable patients, and those who are their main carers, those aged over-16 who live with someone who is immuno-suppressed.

The NHS is also rolling out second doses for 12- to 15-year-olds, so together this is the most complex change and biggest operational challenge since the programme began just over a year ago.

More trained NHS reservists are being urged to step forward to bolster the vaccine programme. We are currently seeking registered vaccinators, unregistered vaccinators (clinical professionals whose registration may have lapsed) and corporate and clinical administrators - visit here

Scientists are very worried about the arrival of Omicron variant because of the speed with which it spreads and because two vaccine doses do not give us the protection we all need. Thankfully a booster jab can restore protection to around 75 per cent, so the NHS is turbo-charging the booster programme to offer a top up to all eligible adults by the end of the year.

If you haven’t had your top-up yet, Get Boosted Now. Everyone over 18 can now get their booster from three months after their second or third primary dose.

First, second and booster vaccination appointments can be booked through the national booking service by visiting nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or telephoning 119. When invited, people can book at one of the vaccination centre, pharmacy or general practice sites that are available through the national booking service.

Alternatively, those seeking a first, second or third primary dose can still get a walk in vaccination with no appointment at certain sites. Search here

You do not have to be registered with a GP or have a NHS number to be vaccinated, but it is not yet possible to book an appointment via the NBS without one. For those not registered with a GP or without an NHS number, a growing number of walk-in and pop-up sites are available. Anyone in the UK can choose to register with a GP.

If you have it, please take with you your NHS number to help the vaccination team book you in quickly. But don’t worry if you don’t have an NHS number or are not registered with a GP / local doctor, you can still get vaccinated.

You do not need to show identification (ID) to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and you do not need to give your full name or address. It does not matter whether you are a UK citizen or what your immigration status is, how long you have been here or how long you expect to stay.

Before your vaccination: Don't forget to keep hydrated (bring some bottled water with you) and have something to eat before you come.

For more information about the vaccination programme and for information about vaccines for children and young people visit: www.norfolkandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk/vaccinations/covid-19-vaccines

Remember, the COVID-19 vaccine is free of charge on the NHS.

Text messages will be sent using the Government’s secure Notify service and show as being sent from NHSvaccine. You can trust your text message is genuine if it comes from ‘NHSvaccine’, includes a link to the NHS.uk website and gives you the option of phoning 119.

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