How will the coronavirus vaccine roll-out work?
- Credit: PA
With 50 hospital hubs set up across the country as the first places where people will be vaccinated against Covid-19, how will the roll-out of the new jab work?
Who is getting vaccinated this week?
The first people to get the vaccine are patients aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, as well as those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay.
After that, hospitals will also begin to invite over-80s in for a jab and work with care home providers to book their staff in to vaccination clinics.
Any appointments not used for these groups will be used for healthcare workers who are at highest risk of serious illness from Covid-19.
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All those vaccinated will need a booster jab 21 days later.
Across England, there will are 800,000 jabs available to be distributed, meaning 400,000 people can be given the two doses they require.
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Where are the nearest hospital hubs?
East Suffolk and North Essex Foundation NHS Trust (ESNEFT) is one of the hospital hubs taking part in the scheme.
However, Ipswich Hospital - which is part of ESNEFT - does not currently have the facilities to store the Pfizer vaccine, which has to be kept at -70C.
Our nearest hospital hubs are therefore Colchester Hospital, which is also run by ESNEFT, and the James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston.
A spokeswoman for NHS East of England said people from both Suffolk and North East Essex will receive the vaccine at Colchester this week.
When will I hear about when I need to go get a vaccine?
Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, said people need to “hang fire” and be assured they have not been forgotten if they have not received a letter or a phone call about the jab.
Mr Hopson told the PA news agency: “I don’t think people should expect anything over the next few days because the reality is, as I said, that for the vast, vast, vast majority of people this will be done in January, February, March.
“And the one thing that we don’t want people to get anxious about or concerned about is ‘where’s my letter?’ in December.”
He added: “People really shouldn’t worry if they’re over 80 and they haven’t had a letter.
“I’m sure there will be communications over the next few weeks that will tell people how quickly we are getting through the over-80s, and there will be plenty of communications to say, at the right point, if you haven’t had a letter then you should talk to your GP, but we are many weeks away from that.
“So, as I said, people just need to hang fire and wait for a proactive communication.
“If that hasn’t happened, don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten you, and we’ll certainly tell you at the point at which you need to start worrying if you haven’t been contacted, but that will be many, many weeks away.”
What will happen when I go for the vaccine?
When a person arrives, they will be registered and be prescribed the vaccine.
A computer system will issue an email or a letter to the patient and their GP saying they have had the vaccine and confirming a follow-up date for three weeks later when they will get the second dose.
The jab is typically delivered by an injection in the shoulder.
What happens next?
Next week, work will begin to get the vaccine to GPs, with a small number starting to give them out.
More practices in more parts of the country will be joining in on a phased basis during December and in the coming months.
It is not clear yet at what stage practices in Suffolk will start giving the vaccine.
Vaccination centres treating large numbers of patients in sporting venues and conference centres will be used when further supplies of vaccine become available.
What’s the order for everyone else to get vaccinated?
The latest information on vaccination priority is as follows;
1. Older adults in a care home and care home workers
2. All those who are 80 years of age and over and health and social care workers
3. All those who are 75 years of age and over
4. All those who are 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals, excluding pregnant women and those under 18 years of age
5. All those who are 65 years of age and over
6. Adults aged 18 to 65 years in an at-risk group
7. All those aged 60 and over
8. All those aged 55 and over
9. All those aged 50 and over
Health secretary and West Suffolk MP Matt Hancock said: “This coming week will be an historic moment as we begin vaccination against Covid-19.
“We are prioritising the most vulnerable first and over-80s, care home staff and NHS colleagues will all be among the first to receive the vaccines.
“We are doing everything we can to make sure we can overcome significant challenges to vaccinate care home residents as soon as possible too.
“I urge everybody to play their part to suppress this virus and follow the local restrictions to protect the NHS while they carry out this crucial work.”