Community pharmacy in Hemel added to vaccination sites up and running in Hertfordshire
COVID-19 vaccinations are only available by appointment
Three community pharmacies in Hertfordshire, including one in Hemel Hempstead, have began vaccinating those people in priority groups who have received a letter to book a slot.
The latest addition means all Hertfordshire residents who are currently eligible to have a COVID-19 vaccination can now access a local vaccination site.
COVID-19 vaccinations are only available by appointment, either following an invitation from a person’s own GP practice or a letter enabling someone to choose to use the national booking system.
Opening hours are coordinated to ensure that appointments are available when supplies of the vaccine allow.
The pharmacies in Apsley in Hemel Hempstead, Borehamwood and St Albans are the latest options in Hertfordshire to be added to the national booking system, which already offers appointments at large vaccine centres, including Robertson House in Stevenage.
Newly opened GP-led sites in Harpenden, Cheshunt and Letchworth mean that there are now 23 groups of GP practices working together to offer widespread coverage across the county.
According to the latest figures released (January 17), across Hertfordshire and west Essex 115,304 people have been vaccinated. This includes:
> 50,815 people aged 80 or over with their first vaccination
> 47,623 people under the age of 80 with their first vaccination (this total includes care home and front line healthcare staff).
Vaccinators have visited almost all of Hertfordshire’s care homes to deliver vaccinations to both residents and staff – with all care homes due to be visited by yesterday (Sunday 24 January).
People aged 70 and over and those under 70 with a health condition that puts them at extreme clinical risk can now also be vaccinated.
Whilst the programme has been extended to these additional groups, completing vaccinations for the over 80s, older people who live in care homes and those who care for them will continue to take priority.
Dr Nicolas Small, GP board chair of Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This is the biggest vaccination programme the NHS has ever undertaken, and NHS staff have done an incredible job in vaccinating many thousands of vulnerable patients in these local vaccination sites across our area in a number of weeks.
"Our local GP-run services are also vaccinating care homes residents and staff and we are making good progress.”
Dr Prag Moodley, a GP and Chair of East and North Hertfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We expect the pace of vaccination to increase significantly over the coming days and weeks and for more appointments to be offered to patients as vaccine supplies increase and more vaccination sites open.
"We are working as fast as we can to roll out the vaccine and everyone will be contacted by their GP or through the national team to book in a vaccination as soon as it is their turn.
"Please don’t contact your GP surgery to ask about your appointment. ”
To support the vaccination effort, people attending a vaccination appointment are being asked to support staff by following social distancing guidelines, wearing a face covering unless they are exempt, and arriving for their vaccination at their allotted time, not in advance.
The NHS is asking patients who haven’t yet heard about their jab to assist the vaccination programme by:
> waiting to be contacted by your GP or the national booking team to book an appointment rather than contacting your GP– you will be invited when it is your turn. Remember the NHS will never ask you to pay for a COVID-19 vaccination.
> attending appointments for both your first and second vaccination (which will be up to 12 weeks after your first)
> continuing to follow all the ‘stay at home’ and other guidance around hand hygiene, social distancing and wearing face coverings both before and after having your vaccine.