A total of 3,950 patients in Eden have so far received the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the Government’s mass vaccination programme — with Health Secretary Matt Hancock this week promising the nation a “great British summer” ahead.
There has been a 95 per cent uptake rate among those so far offered a vaccine in Eden.
Mr Hancock set out the Government’s vaccine strategy which he said was aimed at getting the jab administered to as many people as possible.
Last Monday it was stated that so far 2.6 million doses of the vaccine have been given nationally, with the effort set to be ramped up.
In Eden, the first delivery of the Pfizer vaccine came on 21st December, providing vaccines for 975 patients which were administered from a central hub to patients in the 80-plus age bracket from Penrith’s Birbeck and Lakes practices along with Court Thorn Surgery at Low Hesket, Glenridding, Kirkoswald and Shap.
A second delivery of the vaccine was received in Eden on 6th January and meant patients from practices in Appleby, Alston, Temple Sowerby and Upper Eden received their first jab last week.
A small delivery of the alternative Oxford vaccine was also made available for use in Eden. Because this vaccine is more straightforward to deliver than the Pfizer version — which requires storage at ultra-low temperatures — it has been used for residents and staff at all but two care homes in the district.
The two care homes which have not received the vaccine are those with positive COVID-19 cases.
Patients who test positive for the virus cannot have the jab until four weeks later.
Availability of the Oxford vaccine will now allow medics to look at the next stage of vaccinations — to housebound patients across Eden — in a bid to cover the district’s cohort of over 3,000 80-plus-year-olds.
The next delivery of the vaccine, which is set to be received this week, will then see patients aged 75-79 years old become eligible for the potentially life-saving jabs and surgeries are set to begin making appointments for these patients to receive the jab at the COVID Vaccination Hub at Penrith hospital.
Anna Sives, head of operations for the Eden Primary Care Network, said there has been around a 95 per cent uptake of the vaccination by Eden patients.
“People have been excellent, patients have been really pleased to receive the vaccination. It’s really exciting and we all feel happy to be involved in this, it’s the right thing to do to protect patients.
“I want to thank all the staff that have worked extremely hard from all 10 practices and the primary care network to get this up and running in such a short timescale.”
She added that those receiving the vaccine have behaved well throughout but urged people to arrive for their appointments on time, rather than early, in a bid to avoid queues and encouraged people to continue being vigilant over social distancing.
Eden patients who received their first vaccinations in December had been scheduled to receive their second jabs this week but appointments have been delayed in line with recent government guidance.
This seeks to get the first jab administered to as many people as possible, rather than pressing ahead with two doses for fewer people.
Those who have received the first jab will have to wait 11-12 weeks after their initial dose for the follow-up jab and will receive their appointments in due course.
The priority groups for vaccinations, as advised by the Government’s joint committee on vaccination and immunisation, are:
- 1 Residents and staff working in a care home for older adults;
- 2 All those aged 80 and over along with frontline health and social care workers;
- 3 All those aged 75 and over;
- 4 All those aged 70 and over, also clinically extremely vulnerable individuals (not including pregnant women and those under 16 years of age);
- 5 All those aged 65 years and over;
- 6 Adults aged 16 to 65 years in an at-risk group;
- 7 All those aged 60 and over;
- 8 All those aged 55 and over;
- 9 All those aged 50 and over.
The Health Secretary has said that everyone over 50 will receive at least the first of the two jabs by May — meaning 32 million people are set to be vaccinated over the next 16 weeks.