On Monday it was announced that people aged 70 and over and those who are listed as clinically extremely vulnerable will now also start receiving invitations to have the vaccination.
Despite the phenomenal effort to stand up clinics so quickly and begin vaccinating people, the NHS is aware of frustrations people are feeling as they are unsure of when they might be invited for their jab.
Dr Tim Cooper, GP and vaccination lead for North Hampshire, said: “We understand that many people are very keen to be vaccinated as soon as is possible, and in time a vaccine will be available for everyone.
“However, at this point we are working our way through the priority groups, as identified by the government scientific advisors.
“Regrettably, we have to ask people to be patient – we are not holding reserve stocks of the vaccine and so cannot simply add in extra appointments – but everyone will be invited in due course. It will take time to protect everybody, but we will be in touch with everyone as soon as we possibly can.
“We absolutely understand that any wait is frustrating, but calling or messaging the practice will not get you an appointment more quickly, and will take our staff away from their other work.”
However while you do wait for your invitation people are being reminded to do the things they can do.
Dr Cooper added: “Please make sure we have some up-to-date contact details for you – especially a mobile phone number if you have one. It makes it quicker and easier for us to contact you.
“Also make sure you are registered with a GP practice.
“Again you don’t need to call us with this information – you can update online through the practice website.
“While you wait for the invitation, please do remember to do the basics, to keep yourselves and others safe – comply with lockdown rules, wash your hands, cover your face, and give other people space.
“And actually this still stands even after you have had either the first or the second doses of the vaccination.
“The rollout of the vaccine is undoubtedly a great weapon in our arsenal to fight off covid-19 – however we must not get complacent and ignore government guidelines.
“We are all desperate to hug our loved ones, however now is not the time to lose our focus on the long-term goals.
“It is great news the vaccination is being delivered but this alone will not slow the spread of this virus.
“I know people’s spirits will be waning and as the days are colder and darker, it can be a very isolating time. But if we stick to these rules then we will all come out of the other side stronger, better and able to hug our loved ones as much as we want too.”
The prioritisation order of vaccinations being delivered have been set nationally by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
At the moment the vaccine is being administered first to those most at risk, including:
You will be invited in one of three ways to have a vaccination:
Using a local GP service: GP services are working together in your area to vaccinate as many people as possible. You may be contacted by a different surgery to the one you usually go to
Local hospital services: You might be contacted to have the vaccination as an inpatient or outpatient
At a vaccination centre: If you live within 30 to 45 minutes of a vaccination centre, and haven’t already been vaccinated, you may have received a letter asking you to book an appointment online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. Or if you can’t access the NHS website you can call 119 free.
If you can’t travel to a vaccination centre, or there is another reason you can’t book an appointment at the nearest vaccination centre, you can choose to wait until your local GP services contact you if they haven’t already. If this is your preferred option – you don’t need to do anything now – wait for your GP service to make contact. More locations will become available through www.nhs.uk or 119 in the coming weeks so you could also try there again later.
If you receive a letter and already have an appointment booked to have your vaccination at a local GP service please ignore the letter. There is nothing you need to do and please attend your appointment.