Patient update – COVID-19 Mass vaccinations

While we don’t expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be widely available until 2021, the Government has asked the NHS to be ready to deliver a vaccination programme for England from December, so that those who need it most will be able to access vaccinations as soon as they are available.

A prioritisation list has been produced in order for the vaccine to be delivered to groups who will need it first. The NHS will contact you when you are eligible to receive the vaccine and provide you with information about location and date.

Given the current requirements for social distancing, and the number of people who need to be vaccinated, you may be asked to attend a vaccination site. This may be your GP surgery or another location, such as another NHS building or designated vaccination site.

Where will people be vaccinated?

The NHS has well-established routes for delivering vaccinations across the country, for example the annual flu jab and routine immunisations for children and pregnant women, and plans for COVID-19 vaccination will build on these.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have recently published updated advice on the priority groups to receive COVID-19 vaccine, advising that vaccines should first be given to care home residents and staff, followed by people aged over 80 and health and social care workers, before being rolled out to the rest of the population in order of age and risk.

As we are expecting the JCVI advice will remain that care home residents and staff and older people will be among the first who should receive it, the NHS will establish roving vaccine delivery services in people’s homes or care homes, working with local councils and social care providers.

When eligibility is extended to wider groups, given the current requirements for social distancing and the number of people covered, this will be supplemented by specific ‘mass’ COVID-19 vaccination sites, which could be within existing NHS estates or temporary standalone services.

What are the priority groups?

  • 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)

How will I know when I will be able to get vaccinated?

For most patients they will receive a letter – either from their GP, the national service, or both – including details of how to book their appointments and options for where they can be vaccinated.

When will I be able to receive the vaccine?

While there are a number of different vaccines being developed and trialed, we don’t yet know which will be approved for use or when this might happen for each. A vaccine will not be approved and licensed until it is proven to be safe and effective.

While we don’t expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be widely available until 2021, the NHS is making preparations now so that we are ready as soon as a vaccine is approved and becomes available.