People in Devon who are eligible for a coronavirus vaccine are being urged to book an appointment before the end of March while there are thousands of spaces available.
Everyone aged 50 and above, people with underlying health conditions or health and care workers are among those now eligible for a vaccination.
They are being encouraged to book an appointment for a first dose before the supply constraints begin in April.
Making an appointment is simple:
Use the National Booking Service via the website or by calling 119
The National Booking Service offers appointments at large vaccination centres or the selected community pharmacies that are offering the jab:
- Large vaccination centres at Westpoint Exeter and Home Park, Plymouth (or Taunton Racecourse in Somerset and the Royal Cornwall Showground, Wadebridge, if more convenient)
- Pharmacy sites: Plymouth Cricket Ground, Devonport, run by Devonport Pharmacy; Lewis Pharmacy, Exeter Road, Exmouth; Westward Ho! Baptist Church, run by Arnolds Pharmacy, Westward Ho!
• Or, if you've been invited by your GP, please respond to book up and attend this week while there are still plenty of spaces available
Dr Paul Johnson, clinical chair of NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The supply constraints mean fewer vaccinations will be happening in April, but the good news is we have thousands of spaces for vaccinations in Devon before the end of the month.
“If you are over 50 and you haven’t had the jab yet, now is the time to book a space before the supply issues kick in.”
“We appreciate that these groups include people who are busy working, but it is definitely worth taking half an hour out of your day to get the protection it affords.”
“Remember, you are not just protecting yourself, you are protecting others when you get the vaccine.”
Existing appointments for first and second doses are not being cancelled. If you have an appointment, please attend it. If you already have an appointment over the coming weeks, whether for your first or second dose, this remains in place and it’s really important that you attend it as planned.
Dr Johnson added: “We have enough vaccine for everyone who is due a second dose to get it. I know some people are concerned about safety or availability but I can assure people that it’s safe and it’s really important that they get that second dose and that we will have it available.”
GP practices in Devon are especially keen that anyone who is clinically vulnerable (JCVI group 6 – people aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality) takes up the offer of a vaccine. Most people in this group will have been contacted by their practice in recent weeks and doctors are keen to book in anyone who hasn’t yet responded to fix up an appointment.
The nine priority groups, as set by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation encompass:
Everyone aged 50 years and over
Frontline health and social care workers
People who are clinically extremely vulnerable
People of any age with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality. This group includes those who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.
Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
It is estimated that taken together, these at-risk groups account for 99% of all deaths from COVID-19.
If you’re not sure if you are eligible for a vaccine, you can use the information on the NHS website to check before booking.
Further to recent concerns regarding blood clots, the UK regulator, the MHRA, the World Health Organization and the European Medicines Agency have all now said the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks.
520,901 people in Devon received a first vaccine dose between 8 December and 14 March, meaning more than half of people aged 16 and over in Devon have had a first dose, vaccination data published by NHS England and NHS Improvement shows.
Please continue to attend any booked appointments in April unless you hear from the NHS. There is no need to contact the NHS about a booked appointment.
People who are using the online national booking system for their appointments are being reminded to click on the ‘confirm’ button which will finalise their booking and makes sure the vaccination centre knows they are coming. The patient should receive an email confirmation with the details of the appointment.