Local vaccination services run by GPs will open this week in Dorset as the NHS continues its phased roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine to priority groups.
GPs and other primary care staff have been working round-the-clock and throughout the weekend to deliver this part of the roll-out.
The latest stage is being delivered by GP-led primary care networks with more joining on a phased basis during December and in the coming months. Vaccinations will be delivered from Tuesday by an initial wave of six primary care sites locally serving their much wider communities, with more standing up as soon as possible.
The COVID-19 vaccine is being rolled-out nationally to people most at risk. People aged 80 and over as well as care home workers will be amongst the first to receive the vaccine. Vaccinations are being delivered according to priority groups identified nationally by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The NHS will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine; please do not contact your GP practice, local hospital, or other local NHS services.
Dr Karen Kirkham, GP, Clinical lead for the Dorset COVID-19 vaccination programme, and Assistant Clinical Director of NHS Dorset CCG, said: “As a local GP in Dorset I’m so proud of the huge local effort that has been made locally to deliver this next phase of the vaccination programme.
“I’d like to say a personal thank you to all of the local GPs, nurses, pharmacists, support and logistical staff, other primary care staff, and those in the wider health and social care system who have been working round the clock to make it happen.
“Primary care networks have been working rapidly to redesign their sites and put in place safe processes to meet the tough logistical challenges of offering the vaccination.
“This is very much going to be a marathon, rather than a sprint, and we’d like to ask for the continued help of the public to help us as we continue the roll-out of the vaccination programme for the people of Dorset.
“The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then. If you can’t make an appointment let us know as soon as possible and we can then offer the slot to someone else. You will be called again.”
Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health for Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Councils, said: “It’s great to see this next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme getting underway in Dorset. With such a huge programme, it is going to take time to reach everybody and offer enough protection against the virus, so in the meantime it’s really important that we continue to follow the rules to prevent transmission. Please only meet people from other households outdoors and keep washing your hands regularly, wearing a face covering and maintaining your distance from others.
“We also need to remain vigilant for any symptoms of COVID-19 – a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change of taste or smell. Please self-isolate immediately and book a test if you have any of these, and remain at home with your household until you get your results back.”
Please continue to follow all the guidance to control the spread of the virus and save lives.
This latest phase builds on the work of the hospital hubs launched nationally last week, which included Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.
We know that people are very keen to find out about our developing COVID-19 vaccination programme in Dorset and we will share more updates as information becomes available.