Clinicians, NHS staff, patient participation group members and community volunteers from across Oxfordshire have made huge progress in ensuring our most at-risk staff and patient groups will have a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by the middle of this month.
Since December 8, two hospital hubs, 21 GP-led sites, and a large scale vaccination centre at the Kassam Stadium have been rolled out to vaccinate the top four priority groups, as advised by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
GP practices have been able to vaccinate all older residents in the county’s care homes and are reaching out to housebound patients. NHS services in Oxfordshire are confident they will meet the Government’s target of giving a first vaccination dose to everyone in the current priority groups by Monday, February 15.
Each vaccination site is managing its own patient lists and is working through them as quickly as possible, as vaccine supplies are delivered.
People across the county are being contacted by their GP practice or by a letter from the national NHS inviting them to book an appointment, either at their local vaccination centre or at the Kassam Stadium in Oxford.
Health and care staff and some inpatients are receiving their vaccinations at the Churchill and Warneford hospital hubs, and smaller hubs at the John Radcliffe and Horton General hospitals. There is also a small number of pharmacies offering appointments. Patients will be expected to return to the same site for their second dose when they are contacted.
In Oxfordshire more than 90 per cent of those aged 80 and over have received their first vaccination dose and 50 per cent of those aged 70 to 79. Excellent progress is being made for frontline health and social care staff, and all older adult care home residents and staff have been offered the vaccine. This equates to 105,000 people living or working in Oxfordshire.
Enthusiasm from the public has been huge and the vaccination centres are finding patients are keen to benefit from the vaccination when called.
Dr Kiren Collison, clinical chair at Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, which supports the GP-led vaccination services in the county, said: “The hard work and huge effort from everyone involved – from clinicians to community volunteers – has ensured that we are on track to get everyone in our most at-risk groups vaccinated with a first dose in the next couple of weeks.
“This is a great achievement which is helping to reduce the spread of the virus and reduce the numbers of people seriously ill in our hospitals.
“But the wider public has an important part to play to help us, so we are asking:
- please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives – that means staying at home as much as possible and following the ‘hands, face, space’ guidance when you are out;
- please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you;
- and when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments, and try to arrive exactly when you’re asked to, so that we can keep queues to a minimum.”
David Walliker, chief digital and partnerships officer at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who leads the trust’s vaccination programme, said: “It has been a huge logistical challenge across the NHS to set up the processes to vaccinate so many people so quickly.
“I would like to thank all of our staff who have responded so magnificently. The work done by our pharmacy, estates and digital staff to get the vaccination hub set up has been matched only by the work of our super team of vaccinators and all those who have been helping support the vaccination programme.
“All of our staff at OUH have now been offered the vaccine and we are nearing the end of giving first doses to our staff, in addition to having vaccinated many patients who were over 80, other NHS workers and care home and social care workers.”
Oxford Health’s COVID Operations Director, Tehmeena Ajmal, said: “The opening of the Kassam vaccination centre to the public is another milestone in the journey towards vaccinating as many people as possible as quickly as possible. It was amazing to see the first members of the public coming along and to watch how all the hard work done by colleagues has resulted in such a smooth operation.
“Seeing people who had received their vaccination afterwards looking so pleased was really rewarding. It was also good to hear that the message about sticking to the rules is well understood and that the vaccination is just one of the things that will help us to get back towards normality.
“I hope anyone hearing what people have said about the vaccination process will be encouraged and keen to get their jab at the earliest opportunity.”
For further information go to GOV.UK website