This morning the NHS began vaccinating people against covid, following approval of the Pfizer/BioTech vaccine last week. Those most at risk from covid are being prioritised in the first wave of the vaccination programme, and people are urged to be patient. It is not necessary to contact your GP or NHS 111 regarding the vaccine as all those eligible for the vaccine will be contacted directly in due course.
The NHS has been preparing for months for the rollout of a vaccine, the first phase of which will be delivered at ‘hub’ vaccination sites located in hospitals across the country. On Sunday the first 50 of these hubs were announced, which included the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford. More hospitals will start vaccinating in the coming weeks and months as the programme is rolled out.
The vaccine is being distributed first to people aged 80 and above who are already attending hospital as an outpatient, and those who are being discharged home after a hospital stay, as well as care home residents. Healthcare workers at most risk from covid will also be in the first tranche of those to receive the vaccine.
Welcoming the vaccination programme, Dr Ben Spencer MP said:
I am delighted that vaccination against covid has started in the UK today - marking a turning point in the response to the pandemic. The scientists, health staff, and all involved in the development and delivery of this vaccination deserve our sincere thanks.
However, it will take time to roll out the vaccine and see its impact. The threat of covid remains and we must all remain cautious, follow the rules and remember to observe public health measures including social distancing and regular hand washing.
In line with national recommendations it should be noted that pregnant women cannot receive the vaccination. In addition, women of childbearing age should be advised to avoid pregnancy for at least 2 months after their second dose. There are also specific clinical recommendations for those who have known underlying health conditions and assessment will form part of the vaccination programme.
People will be required to receive two doses of the vaccine at least 21 days apart.