Roll-out of Covid-19 vaccine commences in North Central London
Last week, the biggest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS commenced across England. In North Central London, this was led by Royal Free Hospital who delivered the first vaccine on Tuesday 8 December.
In North Central London one Primary Care Network site in each of our five boroughs will start offering the vaccine from Tuesday 15 December. A further six Primary Care Network sites will begin vaccinations by the end of this week, with a plan for one further site to come online in North Central London this month.
GP practices will use their registered patient lists to identify and invite patients from the nationally-defined priority groups. Each Primary Care Network site will be aiming to offer the vaccine to at least 975 people per week (the vaccine stock we anticipate sites receiving).
We anticipate that from January other community vaccination sites will be introduced North Central London, in addition to hospitals and general practices
We have well established plans for delivering vaccinations across NCL, for example the annual flu jab and routine immunisations for children and pregnant women. We are therefore confident in our ability to come together as a system to provide a safe and effective vaccination programme while continuing to offer timely access to other NHS services.
Plans will continue to evolve as we gain clarity on when and what vaccines will be approved for use. At this point in time, only the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
We will need to vaccinate over 814,000 residents and staff and as each person needs two injections, we are looking at more than 1.6 million vaccinations by the Spring.
The independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have identified a priority list of those most vulnerable to Covid-19. In line with this guidance, in NCL we are focussing on vaccinating over 80s, plus frontline care home and NHS staff.
In NCL, we will be providing different delivery methods for the different population groups:
- Hospital hubs – located within local hospitals will be clinics run by hospital staff administering vaccines primarily to inpatients, outpatients, NHS and care staff.
- Local vaccine services – smaller scale sites provided by GPs and pharmacies within local communities.
- Vaccination centres – large scale sites convenient for transport networks that support high volumes in a fixed location for an extended period.
- Roving models – comprising vehicles that can deploy vaccinators, vaccine and supplies on an outreach basis, for those housebound or in care settings, such as care homes.
The Royal Free Hospital will continue to vaccinate via their hub. From this week, five local vaccine services – one in each borough – have come online, with a further six due to come online at the end of this week. At this point in time, we do not expect to bring any of the large vaccination centres and roving models online until the New Year.
While the vaccine programme rolls out, there are three main ‘asks’ for the public:
- We will contact you when it’s the right time to come forward so please don’t seek a vaccine before then.
- Please act on your invite and make sure you attend your appointments when you arrange them.
- Please continue to abide by all the social distancing and hand hygiene guidance, which will still save lives.
We recognise that transport is a crucial aspect of the vaccination programme, to ensure as many people as possible are able to receive the vaccination in December and beyond. A significant focus for the NCL CCG is coordinating and mobilising patient transport options – through Councils, voluntary and community organisations, volunteer networks, churches, synagogues and mosques etc. When individuals are contacted by general practices, they will be asked about their transport requirements.
Building confidence in the vaccine is vitally important. Health and care organisations, will deliver a significant programme of community engagement, and will be reaching out to voluntary and community organisations, faith networks and others to work in partnership on this. We will continue to share information with you over the coming weeks, and would greatly appreciate your support in cascading public-facing vaccination information through your networks.