Covid-19 vaccination programme in Devon enters next phase

News Desk
Authored by News Desk
Posted: Tuesday, May 4, 2021 - 19:57

Vaccination programme entering phase two – covering people aged 18-49

People in the next phase of the vaccination programme will be contacted and offered an appointment at a local vaccination centre in Devon in coming weeks when their age group becomes eligible.

The vaccination programme is entering phase two as it moves to vaccinate groups 10-12, which cover people aged 18-49. Currently, people aged 42 and over are eligible for a vaccine with other age groups due to be invited in coming weeks.

More sites in Devon are set to offer appointments via the National Booking Service’s website and phoneline from early May as part of this next phase.

In mid-April, the NHS achieved the Government’s ambition of offering a vaccination to everyone in the top nine priority cohorts, as set out by the independent national Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, which included everyone over 50, frontline health and social care workers, residents and staff of care homes and people who are clinically vulnerable. It is estimated that taken together, these nine groups account for 99% of all deaths from Covid-19.

In Devon, vaccinations have been offered via one of three main routes: Sites run by groups of GPs, sites where bookings are managed via the National Booking Service (including the large vaccination centres, like Home Park in Plymouth, and pharmacies), and hospital hubs.

As part of the next phase, GP practices were asked to confirm if they were able to support the vaccination of cohorts 10-12. Some opted to continue, while in other areas, people aged 18-49 will be offered their vaccination via the National Booking Service when they become eligible.

As part of phase two, 13 of the existing 20 GP-led sites across the county are offering vaccinations to people aged 18-49 as they become eligible, while all 20 sites will continue to offer second doses to their patients in the top nine JCVI priority groups (people aged 50 and over, and high risk groups).

Dr Paul Johnson, a GP and clinical chair at Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “GPs and their teams have made a major contribution to delivering the Covid vaccination programme, while also caring for patients’ routine, urgent and Covid care. In Devon, two in three people in the adult population have now received their first vaccine dose and we thank everyone involved for their hard work and dedication in helping make this happen.

“Alternative arrangements are being put in place in areas where GP-led sites are not continuing to vaccinate in phase two to ensure there is continued local access to the Covid-19 vaccine for their patients aged 18-49. This includes alternative local providers, such as local pharmacies, hospital hubs and larger vaccination centres.

“I would like to thank GP colleagues for continuing to balance the delivery of vaccinations with wider general practice-led service provision.”

People who are in groups 1-9 (over-50s and at-risk groups) of the JCVI priority list who would like a first dose and who are patients of practices which are not delivering vaccinations to 18-49-year-olds can use the National Booking Service to make an appointment. If they are not able to book an appointment via the service, they should contact their practice to make arrangements for a vaccination.

People aged 18-49 whose practices are continuing to offer the vaccination can either use the National Booking Service to book an appointment when they become eligible, or wait to be contacted by their practice.

A more detailed view by area is set out below:

Exeter and East Devon and Mid Devon

Some GP sites in Exeter will not be providing vaccinations for their patients aged 18-49, but people in the city can use the National Booking Service to book an appointment at locations including at the nearby large vaccination centre at Greendale Business Park or Lewis Pharmacy in Exmouth.

A spokesperson said: “The GP practices who have been running the vaccination programme out of the Exminster Limes Surgery, St Thomas Health Centre and Mount Pleasant Health Centres in Exeter for the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination programme are now focusing on the second doses for the people who we vaccinated who are aged 50 years and over or with underlying health conditions.

“We have been pleased to be involved with the national programme, vaccinating the highest risk patients, however we are now handing over the running of the vaccination programme for the remaining cohorts, as well as any first doses for people aged 50 or over with an underlying health condition.

“Our practices will not be sending out invitations to people aged 18-49 and we ask that patients do not contact their surgery as we now focus on completing second doses and providing our usual range of services within our practices.”

People registered with Westbank Surgery in Exminster will be invited to Dawlish Community Hospital.

Anyone who has an appointment for a first or second dose of Covid vaccine at the large vaccination centre at Westpoint Exeter should go to the new site at the Greendale Business Park if their appointment is 7 May 2021 or after.

As previously announced, the site of the large vaccination centre is moving from Westpoint to its new home at Greendale Business Park, as Westpoint starts to return to its commercial events calendar following the easing of lockdown restrictions.

Greendale is just over two miles from the existing site, and clear signage will be in place to guide patients from Westpoint.

Leigh Mansfield, Operations Manager for the NHS COVID vaccination site in Exeter said: “All appointments for first or second doses which have already been made remain valid, and it’s really important that if you have one you should continue to attend at the same time. From 7 May onwards, please make sure that you go to the new site at Greendale Business Park – we’ll be delighted to welcome you!”

Appointments at the GP-led sites at Exmouth Tennis and Fitness Centre and Moorhayes Community Centre in Tiverton are soon set to be added to the National Booking Service, with a date to be confirmed. For now, the practices continue to contact patients directly.

North Devon 

The vaccination site will continue at North Devon Leisure Centre in Barnstaple, but the running of the site will be taken on by Northern Devon Healthcare Trust and bookings can be made through the National Booking Service – not the GP practice.

Subject to approval by NHS England and NHS Improvement, it is expected that the Leisure Centre will be available to book for appointments on the National Booking Service for people in the eligible groups from early May.

For a period, the site will be shared with GP teams as they finish second doses to people in groups 1-9.

Deputy chief nurse and mass vaccination lead Andrea Bell at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust is pictured far right with colleagues at Barnstaple Leisure Centre, where the trust will be offering vaccinations to local people from early May

Andrea Bell, deputy chief nurse at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Our team has delivered over 16,000 vaccinations at our clinics for health and social care workers at North Devon District Hospital. Now that those clinics have come to an end, we’re delighted that we can move on to support vaccinating local people in cohorts 10-12, once eligible, at the Leisure Centre in Barnstaple.

“Our vaccinators, admin team and volunteers are all looking forward to supporting the next stage of the vaccination programme so that our community in Northern Devon gets the best available protection from coronavirus.

“Once you are eligible for vaccination, please make your booking through the National Booking Service from early May. We look forward to seeing you.”

A spokesperson for the 14 GP practices who have been running the vaccination centre at Barnstaple Leisure Centre said: “We have successfully vaccinated over 50,000 people and we are now focusing on the second doses for this group. We have been pleased to be involved with the national programme, vaccinating the highest risk patients, however we are now handing over the running of the vaccination programme for cohorts 10-12 (those aged 18-49 years old).”

The National Booking Service currently offers appointments at Arnold’s Pharmacy in Westward Ho!

Ruby Country Medical Practice (Holsworthy) and Bradworthy Surgery will continue to arrange vaccinations for their patients and vaccination clinics will continue to be held at Holsworthy Health Centre. Patients will be contacted by the practices when appointments are available.

Plymouth, Ivybridge, Plympton and Plymstock

In the Plymouth area, the Pavilions, the Staddy and Glenside Medical Centre will not be vaccinating the 18-49 age group but local people can continue to access the large vaccination centre at Home Park and Devonport Pharmacy through the National Booking Service.

A spokesperson for Dean Cross, Church View, Yealm and Wembury Surgery said: “Our group of GP practices has been running the vaccination programme out of the Staddy Function Centre in Plymstock for patients in cohorts 1-9 since December 2020.

“The team have vaccinated over 13,000 people and are now focusing on the second doses for those patients. We have been proud to be involved with the national programme and vaccinate the highest risk patients, however we are now handing over the vaccination programme for cohorts 10-12 (those aged 18-49).”