COVID-19 Vaccine Update 6
Published: 15 Mar 2021
We would like to reassure people that the GP led vaccination service in Tangmere will not be closing. Local people from the current priority groups will continue to be invited to attend for their vaccinations at Tangmere Hall.
Data published by NHS England today shows that 613,879 vaccinations had been delivered across Sussex by Sunday 7 March.
The latest figures include a breakdown of vaccinations given by age and ethnicity, and also by local area and constituency. These data show that more than 94% of people aged over 70 had received their first dose by the end of February, along with over 80% of people aged 60-69. In addition, 221,268 people aged under 60 had received a first dose. This group includes those people identified as being particularly vulnerable, health and care workers and carers.
The NHS in Sussex had already met the targets to offer the vaccine to all residents in care homes for older people, everyone over 70 and all eligible health and care workers, and remains on track to offer the vaccine to all those in the first nine priority cohorts by the middle of April.
The latest official national data on vaccinations has now been published this reflects vaccinations up to 7 March 2021. This can be seen on the following link: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/
Sussex Data for this week shows:
The COVID-19 vaccination programme continues to be rolled out across our communities. The top line brief from this week is:
• To date more than 693,796 vaccinations have been delivered across Sussex, including 672,855 first doses
• We have vaccinated 87.5% of people 65 and over (cohort 5). This group will receive a letter in the post inviting them to book onto the national booking system to access the vaccination centres or pharmacy led services, or they can wait to be contacted by their GP led service.
We are committed to ensuring our stakeholders remain informed with the most up- to-date data and, as of 11 March, a summary of progress for West Sussex as follows:
• Priority 1 Residents and staff in a care home for older adults - all older peoples care homes have received first dose vaccinations with the exception of a small remainder of homes who have been deferred due to an outbreak. Vaccinations for these homes have been scheduled.
- Priority 2 People aged 80+ and frontline health and social care workers - the majority of people aged 80 and over in West Sussex have been completed. If anyone has not received their vaccination and would like it please contact your GP led vaccination service or the national booking system as soon as possible. Front line NHS staff have received first dose vaccination and we are working to ensure that remaining care staff vaccinations are completed.
- Priority 3 Aged 75-79. 95.7% of those aged 75-79 have received the first dose vaccination in West Sussex. If anyone has not received their vaccination and would like it please contact your GP led vaccination service or the national booking system as soon as possible.
- Priority 4 Aged 70-74 and Clinically extremely vulnerable individuals 94.7% of those aged 70-74 have received the first dose vaccination. We have identified those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and to date 91.3% have been vaccinated.
- Priority 5 Aged 65 years and over - 88.6% of those have received the first dose vaccination in West Sussex.
The Migrant Health Guide on GOV.UK has been updated to include a COVID-19 guidance page: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/covid-19-migrant-health-guide This is linked to the NHS entitlements page, and contains information about:
• Charging exemptions for migrants for COVID-19 testing, treatment and vaccination
• Translated COVID-19 resources,
• Other COVID-19 topics relevant to migrant health.
Migrant Info Hub: The Migrant Information Hub has a wealth of information and resources available. This is aimed at the Yorkshire and Humber area but much of the information is incredibly helpful to every area. This week there is:
• New translated resources on the new strains of Covid-19, how to stop the spread, shielding and isolating, how to keep young people safe (healthy living, mental health, the NHS, and sexual health), vaccines and vaccine research.
• New information resources on GP registration and registration for specific migrant groups, home learning support, a new vaccine advert, a new migrant health guide
• Training and events: A recorded webinar on barriers to vaccine access and community informed solutions.
The British Islamic Medical Association has developed a website which aims to dispel unhelpful myths associated with the vaccination rollout. This is presented on the next page.
Text Message Call/Recall Service for Covid-19 Vaccination Appointments
The NHS Covid-19 Vaccination programme continues to make strong progress, with everyone in the first seven priority groups now having been invited or due to be invited soon to receive their vital first dose. As we move on to new age groups, the National Booking Service has begun trialling a text message service for Covid-19 vaccination invitations and reminders. This is in addition to the letters that are currently sent to eligible people. Over 400,000 people aged 55 or in receipt of Carer’s Allowance will be the first to receive text message invites this week (Tuesday 9 March).
It is hoped that this approach will help the NHS issue invites to eligible groups more quickly and be more convenient for lots of people, particularly those in younger age groups. People receiving these text messages will be invited to book online at nhs.uk/covid vaccine or by calling 119, for an appointment at a local Vaccination Centre or pharmacy-led site. During this trial text messages will be sent in addition to letters, to ensure that everyone receives their invite.
Why the NHS is trialling text message invites and reminders
There are a number of potential benefits to using text messages as a means of inviting eligible individuals to book their vaccination appointment.
Firstly, the time from a decision to offer vaccines to people in a priority group and an individual in that group receiving their invitation could be reduced to two days by using text messages, allowing the NHS to more quickly react to changing levels of vaccine supply.
Secondly, as the NHS progresses through the age-based priority groups, we know that the people we are inviting are much more likely to use their mobile phones for a range of different uses. According to the ONS, more than nine in 10 adults aged 16 to 54 accessed the internet via their mobile phone in 2019, compared to just four in 10 while for those aged 65 and over. Text messages with simple links and instructions are therefore likely to prove a very effective way of communicating with this group.
Finally, the NHS is planning now for how a Covid-19 vaccination programme can be delivered in a more routine way in the future, if this is needed. Communicating digitally wherever possible could help the programme to be delivered more efficiently, potentially reducing the environmental and financial cost of printed and delivered letters, while bearing in mind that some people will still prefer to receive information by post.
How it will work
The National Immunisation Management Service (NIMS) extracts contact details for eligible patients who have an NHS number and are registered with a GP when a decision is made to offer vaccines to the group, they are in. Up to now this has just been their registered postal address, so that letters can be printed and sent to them. Under this trial, where a mobile phone number can be obtained from someone’s GP records, they will also be sent a short SMS text message with the key details of how to book.
The text message will be sent using the Government’s secure Notify service. They will appear as being sent from NHSvaccine; this name has been protected so it can’t be used by any other text messaging service. The initial invite message will read:
NHS - You are now eligible for your free NHS coronavirus vaccination. Please book online at https://www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119. You will need to provide your name, date of birth and postcode. Your phone number has been obtained from your GP records.
In common with the letter invites, the text messages will invite people to book online at nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119, for an appointment at a local Vaccination Centre or pharmacy-led site. Letters will continue to be sent to all eligible individuals in parallel, as the NHS does not hold telephone details for all eligible individuals, and for some people a text message may not be the best way to communicate, including those who need letters in different languages or formats.
If someone does not respond to the initial text message and letter invite after 2-3 weeks, and no vaccination record is made by another service, the NHS will send a further message and letter. The message will read:
NHS - Reminder: please book your free coronavirus vaccination online at https://www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119. Protect yourself and others. As this is a new initiative, and there has been some previous coverage of fraudulent and scam text messages, some patients may be wary of receiving a text message from the NHS, and in a small number of cases may seek to ask their local health professionals about it.
• The NHS nationally is sending text messages to some people to invite them to book a vaccine appointment
• You can trust your text message is genuine if it comes from ‘NHSvaccine’, includes a link to the NHS.uk website and gives you the option of phoning 119. • If you’re still unsure, you can wait for your letter to arrive – if the message was genuine your letter should be delivered a few days after. • Always remember that: o The NHS will never ask you for your bank account or card details. o The NHS will never ask you for your PIN or banking password. o The NHS will never arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccine. o The NHS will never ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of personal documents such as your passport, driving licence, bills or pay slips.
Take-up of the vaccine has been strong; nine in 10 people in the top four priority groups have already taken up their first dose along with over two thirds of 60-69year olds. If you are in those groups and haven’t come forward yet, it’s not too late, and please make this the week you do. Making an appointment is quick and simple at nhs.uk/covidvaccine, or by phoning 119 if you can’t use the internet. Anyone who doesn’t want to or can’t make it to one of these centres can still choose to wait to be contact by their local GP-led service, which are currently prioritising those with underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk.
The job isn’t done yet, though, and we continue to go full steam ahead. Letters to 1.7 million people aged 56 to 59 landed on doormats over the weekend, and this week more than 400,000 people who are aged 55 or an unpaid carer will be the first to get text alerts from the national booking service, allowing them to arrange their appointments quickly and simply from the palm of their hands. If you receive a text from the sender ‘NHSvaccine’ you can be sure it’s genuine, but always remember the NHS will never ask for payment or your bank details to get the vaccine.
GPs and their teams are also continuing to invite their patients of all ages who are particularly at risk due to a health condition or living with a learning disability, and more than half of this large group – over three million people - have already had their first dose.
With expected vaccine supply increases from next week, we're planning for further acceleration as we head towards Easter, and also welcoming more people back for their second dose. The first dose of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offer good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection from COVID-19, everyone will need to get a second dose, so we are urging people to come back for it when they are contacted or if they have an appointment booked.
Early signs suggest the success of the vaccination programme is contributing to the welcome fall in people in hospital with coronavirus. But the large numbers of very sick patients that hospitals are still seeing demonstrates that we cannot let our guard down now and underlines the importance of offering the first dose to as many people as possible quickly. And until the virus is under control, even those who have received a vaccine still need to follow all the guidance including social distancing, wearing face coverings and hand washing.
So, while NHS staff are having to pull out all the stops to deliver what it is the largest vaccination drive in our history, at the same time as dealing with high levels of Covid19 hospital patients, we need the public to continue to play their part too. That means:
• unless you are in the groups being invited now, please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you when it is the right time
• when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments at exactly the time you’re asked to, and make sure you come back for your second dose and whether you have had your vaccine or not, please continue to follow all the guidance in place to control the virus and save lives.