COVID-19 Vaccine Update No 18
Published: 21 May 2021
More than 600,000 NHS Covid Jabs Booked in 48 Hours
More than 600,000 appointments for a lifesaving Covid jab were booked in just 48 hours after the NHS vaccination programme was opened up to people in their thirties. Those aged 38 and 39 have been able to arrange a jab through the National Booking Service since Thursday. Since then, 611,863 first and second dose appointments have been booked at a NHS Vaccination Centre or local pharmacy-led vaccination service Younger people in their thirties are expected to be invited over the next few days and weeks.
The surge in bookings comes as more than two thirds of people aged 50 and over have been fully vaccinated after receiving both doses. More than three quarters of those aged 40 to 49 have also received their first doses just a fortnight after they were offered a jab by the NHS. In all, 30 million people have been protected with a first dose in England, two thirds of the total adult population. One in three people, around 15 million, have had both doses giving them maximum protection from the virus.
The Government and the JCVI announced on Friday that second dose appointments will be brought forward from 12 to 8 weeks for those aged 50 and over who have yet to received theirs. Nobody needs to contact the NHS. Those who have their second dose booked in the next ten days, up to and including 24 May, should attend their appointment as planned.
People who should have their second dose brought forward do not need to contact the NHS. The NHS will let them know when they can rebook. NHS national medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “Six months into the NHS Covid vaccination programme bookings are still surging, with more than 600,000 jabs booked in just 48 hours.
“The success of the programme, the biggest in NHS history and one of the fastest and most precise in the world, is no accident but the result of extensive planning and the sheer hard work of nurses, doctors and countless other staff supported by our brilliant volunteers. “On the advice of the Government and JCVI people aged 50 and over and the clinically vulnerable are having their second doses brought forward to counter the spread of the Indian variant. “People should continue to attend their second dose appointments, and nobody needs to contact the NHS – we will let those who should bring their appointment forward know, when they are able to do so.
“Getting the vaccine is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves, our families and our communities against Covid 19, so when you’re called forward, book your appointment and join the tens of millions who have already been jabbed.”
Vaccinations are being administered at more than 1,600 sites across the country, including mosques, museums and rugby grounds, meaning the vast majority of the people live within 10 miles of at least one vaccination service. People invited through the National Booking Service are offered a choice of appointments at NHS Vaccination Centres or pharmacy-led vaccination services, as well as some GP-led sites. Text invitations appear as an alert from ‘NHSvaccine’, including a web link to the NHS website to reserve an appointment. People 39 and under without an underlying health condition will be offered the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine in line with updated JCVI guidance last week.
Pregnant women using the service will also be directed to vaccination centres offering Pfizer and Moderna in their local area in line with JCVI Guidance. They can also speak to their GP practice or maternity service if they have any questions about the coronavirus vaccine or can talk to a healthcare professional at their appointment.
People who cannot go online can call the service on 119 instead to book their jab. The NHS is also sending text reminders to people who have not yet taken up their offer of jab and also to people overdue their second dose to ensure nobody is left behind.
People aged 36-37 now eligible
Today people aged 36 and 37 became the latest group to become eligible for their vaccination. The announcement from the Government comes after those aged 38 and over became eligible last week. Anyone in this age group is encouraged to book their appointment through the national booking system online at nhs.uk or by calling 119.
Changes to second dose appointments
NHS England has confirmed that appointments for a second vaccine will be brought forward from 12 to 8 weeks for the remaining people in the top nine priority groups who have yet to receive their second dose. This includes those aged 50 and over, those clinically vulnerable and unpaid carers. If people have an appointment in the next 10 days this will continue as planned.
If appointments have been booked through the national booking system - online or via 119 - the central team will be contacting people in these groups who have an appointment after this time to bring forward their appointment for the second dose. If people had their first appointment at a GP led local vaccination service, you will be contacted as soon as your local service is able to offer you the second appointment.
You do not need to contact the NHS - please wait to be contacted if you think you are in this group. People should continue to attend their second dose appointments as planned unless the NHS contacts you. In general, appointments for second doses are booked at the same time as first doses.
Book your place at a Quiet Vaccination Session on Saturday 22 May
There is still time to book for the quiet vaccine session in Chichester, which is being offered to people living in Sussex who are currently eligible for the vaccine and over the age of 40 who may need more time for their appointment, or who have extra access needs where a quieter and calmer environment would help support them to receive their vaccination. Call or text Isabel (0792 0244 988) to book. If you need support with transport to get to your appointment, you can call the travel team on 01444 275 008.
Residents in Sussex care homes given vital protection from second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination
Teams vaccinating residents in care homes across Sussex have now visited 641 (85%) of homes (as at 11 May 2021) - giving some of the most vulnerable people in our communities maximum protection from the virus. Care home residents and staff were prioritised after being identified in the top priority groups by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations, due to their high risk from COVID-19. Second doses are scheduled up to twelve weeks after the first and provide the most protection possible by reinforcing the recipient’ initial immune response triggered by the first vaccine.
In Sussex we have one of the highest numbers of nursing and care homes per capita across the country and so the work of the vaccination teams from local GP practices and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust is a significant undertaking. In addition, those people registered as housebound in Sussex - either living in their own homes or a form of supported housing such as Extra Care – have also now begun receiving second doses of the vaccination.
Visiting loved ones in care homes
Alongside other protections in place, vaccination of both residents and staff in care settings as well as an overall reduction in COVID-19 cases, has helped to enable further easing of visiting restrictions for families and friends of those living in care.
From Monday 17 May 2021, the number of named family members or friends able to visit their loved ones in care homes will be increased from two to five. A maximum of two visitors will be allowed at any one time or on any given day. Residents will also be able to go to medical appointments, a workplace, educational setting and day centres without having to self-isolate on their return.
Find out more about the NHS app - and how you can help without calling your GP practice
The NHS App will be available to use as a vaccine passport from Monday 17 May 2021. A paper version will also be available by calling 119.
You do not need to telephone your GP Practice to ask about the vaccine passport as they are unable to provide vaccine passports and it’s essential to leave phone lines free for people who need medical assistance.
The NHS App is separate to the NHS COVID-19 App, which is used for contact tracing. You can already use the NHS App to book appointments, repeat prescriptions and see your full medical records. Your vaccine passport will only show when you have had both doses.
If you don’t have the NHS App, download the NHS App now. It will record when you have had both doses of the vaccine and automatically create a vaccine passport which will be available from Monday 17 May 2021.
If you already have the NHS App, it will record when you have had both doses of the vaccine and automatically create a vaccine passport which will be available from Monday 17 May 2021. You do not need to do anything. If you have the NHS App and get a message to say you need to contact your GP Practice, this is an extra option to get full access to your medical records in the NHS App. To get access to your full medical records in the NHS App, you need to contact your GP Practice and request access to your detailed coded record. Please avoid calling your GP practice at peak hours when people are trying to book appointments, and if, possible email the team. The GP Practice will take appropriate time to action your request. This is completely separate from the vaccination information and will not affect your access to the vaccine passport.
If you are planning to travel, please register to use the NHS App at least two weeks before travelling. The paper letter should be requested at least five days after a second vaccine and can take up to five days to arrive so make sure to leave plenty of time if you need it to travel.