COVID-19 Vaccination Programme
The NHS is working hard to vaccinate those most at risk of COVID-19 first – this means care home staff and residents, people aged over 80 and frontline health and care staff – before moving onto the next priority groups.
Everyone will be contacted when it’s their turn to be vaccinated, so please be patient and do not contact your GP practice or other NHS organisation to ask for your vaccination.
Sefton has more people aged 80 and over than other areas in the country and not all parts of Sefton were able to start vaccinating at the same time, so do not worry if you have not been contacted yet.
Not all local premises or surgeries can become community vaccination centres, as they need to meet the strict requirements. So, when it is your turn to be vaccinated, your appointment is unlikely to be at your GP practice.
Dedicated sites have been set up by our GP led service so people can have their vaccine safely. Importantly, we are urging people not to drop into any of these sites – vaccinations are strictly by appointment only.
In the meantime, we ask that you:
- Do not contact your GP or the NHS, we will contact you
- When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments
How is the Vaccine Being Prioritised?
The NHS is currently in the process of offering the vaccine to people aged 80 and over, those who live or work in care home, and frontline health and social care staff.
You can see the order of priority below:
The Different Ways People Might be Contacted
In addition to GP led services, people may also be contacted by the following:
NHS COVID-19 national booking service
Some residents are receiving letters from the national service inviting them to book a COVID-19 vaccination appointment online or by phone at a special regional vaccination centre (like St Helens Rugby Club), or a community pharmacy depending on whether these are available locally.
Importantly, anyone who is unable to go to a regional vaccination centre, or who would prefer to have their vaccination via the GP led vaccination service can still choose to do so. They do not need to take any action. They will still be automatically contacted by the local GP led service, as it works through its lists of registered patients in order of priority.
These services are focusing on vaccinating frontline health and care workers. However, some people may have been contacted to have the vaccine as an inpatient or at an outpatient appointment at the start of the programme.
About the Vaccine
The NHS will not offer any COVID-19 vaccinations to the public until independent experts have signed off that the vaccine is safe.
The COVID-19 vaccines that have currently been approved for use have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
This means the COVID-19 vaccines have gone through all the clinical trials and safety checks that all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.
Checks continue after approval to make sure there are no further side effects or long-term risks. Some people have experienced mild side effects – like when they have the flu or many other vaccines – but no significant side effects have been reported.
You can find videos provided by Liverpool Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust about the general role and importance of all vaccines in protecting health in other languages (Arabic, Chinese, Nepali, Nigerian (Yoruba), Polish, Romanian, Pashto, Farsi/Dari) here www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk or www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk
We are aware some people are receiving suspicious calls and text messages offering the COVID-19 vaccination, so we are reminding residents:
- The vaccine is only available on the NHS for free to people in priority groups, and the NHS will contact you when it is your turn. Anyone offering you a paid-for vaccine is committing a crime.
- The NHS will never ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text to confirm you want the vaccine, and will never ask for payment or for your bank details.
- At the moment we are also not making house calls to deliver or discuss the vaccine. Anyone offering this now is committing a crime.
If you receive a call you think is fraudulent, you should hang up. If you think you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft, you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. If you are vulnerable, and particularly if you are worried that someone has or might come to your house, you should report it to the Police online or by calling 101.
More Information on the Vaccine and the Programme
You can read some frequently asked questions about the vaccine programme in Cheshire and Merseyside here https://www.cheshireandmerseysidepartnership.co.uk/covid-19-vaccination-faqs/
You can find out more about the national vaccination programme here www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine
Remember, it is really important we all continue to follow the guidance to stop the spread of the virus by following:
- hands – wash your hands frequently
- face – use a face covering or mask
- space – keep your distance from people
Even if you have received a first dose of vaccine, you should still continue to follow these rules to keep you and those around you safe and free from COVID-19.