Our plans for the COVID-19 vaccination programme
I am sure you have all heard the news that some Covid-19 vaccinations will soon be available.
We do not yet have specific information, but we know that we have to be ready to potentially start vaccinating from December 2020. We would like to tell our patients about our current plans, so we can work together to get ready.
We have to work as a Primary Care Network (PCN) to deliver this programme, so Stansted, Elsenham, John Tasker House, Angel Lane and Eden Surgeries will be working together.
Between our 5 surgeries, we look after 50 000 patients. Each PCN have to nominate a lead surgery, and Stansted Surgery is the lead surgery for our PCN. This means that initially, the COVID-19 vaccinations will be delivered to Stansted Surgery.
Stansted Surgery is in a new, purpose built Surgery, and have more space than our other PCN Members. There is parking nearby (although not all of the parking is free).
Our PCN is working hard on coming up with the best solution to delivering the programme to our patients and we are exploring all options. We are likely to start the programme by using Stansted Surgery premises only, but may have to find a bigger central location to deliver the wider programme. We understand that Stansted Surgery is not a convenient location for many patients, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused to patients who will have to travel to get their vaccination. As the programme develops, and other vaccines become available, we may be able to serve our patients closer to their own surgery.
Our PCN have an excellent working relationship, and I am sure we will be successful in delivering this programme. We will ensure that the programme is rolled out in a way that is fair to all 5 surgery’s patients.
We will endeavour to use our PCN support staff to do the majority of the vaccinations, so GP Surgery staff can continue the day-to-day surgery workload. We will use our PCN Pharmacists, Physicians Associates and Emergency Care Practitioner, as well as a number of volunteers, such as retired nurses, GPs ect. We will still have to divert our own GPs, nurses and healthcare assistants to complete this vaccination programme. This will put additional burden on already strained GP Surgeries, but we will do our best to keep our surgeries running smoothly, while systematically vaccinating all eligible cohorts.
This is a tough challenge for us, but we are keen to get started, and know that we can count on your understanding and support in the months to come.
Why is this programme different to the annual seasonal flu campaign?
While we still have no specifics about the characteristics of these new vaccinations, we do know that they won’t initially be delivered to us in single, pre-filled doses, as they do for flu vaccinations. Each vaccination has to be reconstituted and individually drawn up – which slows the process down. Each patient will have to have 2 doses – currently we do not know how much time there needs to be between the two doses.
Vaccination Clinics will still have to be held on a socially distanced basis, and patients driving themselves to their appointment, have to wait 15 minutes post vaccination before they can leave the surgery/vaccination site. So logistically – a bit of a nightmare!
How can our patients help us?
We would be very grateful if patients can help us to get prepared for this vaccination programme. One of the key elements in making this programme successful is being able to communicate with our patients quickly, and make the process of booking a vaccination appointment as easy as possible.
- ALL PATIENTS – Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your up to date mobile phone number. Please put the name of your surgery and your age in the subject line of the email (this will help us to split the workload, and prioritise patients in line with the vaccination programme roll out). Please send an email for each member of the household.
- PATIENTS OVER 80 – Please consider signing up for on-line access to book appointments – this makes it very easy to book an appointment, and will take a lot of strain off our surgeries. When we are able to start making appointments, we will only be able to spare two phone lines, so on-line booking will be instrumental in helping us manage appointment bookings. Please email email@example.com if you would like the information you need to set up your on-line access. Please ask a member of your family, or a friend to help you with this if needed.
- Start thinking about how you will get to your appointment at Stansted Surgery. We have been informed that patients have to wait 15 minutes after vaccination before they can drive home. If at all possible, please ask a friend, neighbour of family member to bring you to your appointment, which will allow for a quicker turnaround time in our vaccination clinics.
*** Information sent to this email address will be processed as soon as possible. Please do not send any other information to this email address. We will not be able to respond to any of the emails.
Which patients will practices need to vaccinate?
This is still not fully clear. The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations has recommended the following order:
- older adults’ resident in a care home and care home workers
- all those 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers
- all those 75 years of age and over
- all those 70 years of age and over
- all those 65 years of age and over
- high-risk adults under 65 years of age
- moderate-risk adults under 65 years of age
- all those 60 years of age and over
- all those 55 years of age and over
- all those 50 years of age and over
- rest of the population (priority to be determined) but current vaccines only for those aged 18 and over.
We will do our best to keep you informed – this programme is bound to be subject to many changes. We will keep you updated by text messages, and will post updates to local Social Media Pages.