COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Vaccination

The NHS is now offering vaccinations to people who are most at risk from Covid-19. This follows the approval of both the Pfizer BioNTech and Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines as safe and effective after extensive trials.

The first vaccinations are being offered to people in the priority groups identified by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), starting with people in care homes and those aged 80 and over.

Groups of GP practices are working together to provide vaccines from local centres and in care homes and will contact eligible patients when it is their turn. Vaccines for frontline health and care workers will also be offered at hospital 'hubs' to staff who are at the greatest risk of catching Covid-19.

We know lots of people will be eager to get protected but you will be invited for a vaccine when it's your turn so please do not contact your practice or the NHS for an appointment. The NHS is working hard to make sure those at greatest risk are offered the vaccine first and people will not be able to make an appointment until they have received their invitation.

As more supplies of the vaccines become available, we will be able to offer vaccinations to more people and at other locations. These will include local vaccination services provided by GPs and pharmacists, in people's homes if they can't come to us and new dedicated vaccination centres to make sure that everyone who needs a vaccine is able to get one.

Please note that vaccinations are free of charge and only available through the NHS. Anyone who claims to be able to provide you with a vaccine for a fee is likely to be committing a crime and should be reported to the Police online or by calling 112. The NHS will never ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text asking you to confirm you want the vaccine.

This will be the largest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS and you can really help us to deliver it to those that need it most by doing the following:

· Please don't contact the NHS to seek a vaccine - we will contact you when it's the right time.

· When we do contact you, please act immediately and make sure you attend your appointments.

· Please continue to follow all the guidelines – hand hygiene and social distancing in particular – to control the virus and save lives.

If you are over 70 and haven’t had your first vaccination yet you can contact the NHS National Booking Service for an appointment.

We are working to contact all patients over 70 by the middle of February but if you haven’t heard from us yet and want to book an appointment, please visit www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.

This will allow you to choose a time slot and location that suits you. If you are not able to book online you can call 119 free of charge, between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. (Please be aware that phone lines can get very busy so you may prefer to call later in the day when it is can be less busy.)

This is only available for first vaccination appointments and if you are aged 70 or over. Everyone else will still need to wait to be contacted by the NHS when it is their turn for a vaccination or for an appointment for their second vaccination if they don’t already have one.

You still need an appointment to get a vaccination so please do not go to any of the centres unless you have one booked. This is important because booking slots are carefully managed to allow for social distancing and the number of appointments is based on the supply available that day.

We are also contacting all patients who are registered as clinically extremely vulnerable and have been asked to shield, as well as people in the eligible cohorts who are housebound. If you haven’t been contacted yet, you should hear from us this week.

Finding your NHS number

You can still book an appointment if you don’t have your NHS number, provided you are registered with a GP practice. However, it will be quicker if you have your number: this will be on any letter or document you have received from the NHS, including prescriptions, or you can find it online at

www.nhs.uk/find-nhs-number

Registering with a GP

You can find a GP practice on the NHS.uk website. You will need to fill in a form to register - for some practices you can do this on their website so check there first. Alternatively, you can download a GMS1 registration form on GOV.UK or arrange a time to pick up a registration form from the GP surgery. If you have problems registering with a GP practice, call the NHS England Customer Contact Centre on 0300 311 22 33.

Families are reminded that those who have symptoms of COVID-19 – a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or loss of taste and smell – however mild, need to self-isolate and get tested.

The local testing service is available from Monday to Friday and bookings for appointments can be made at www.nhs.uk/ask-for-a-coronavirus-test or using the NHS Test and Trace app, or by calling 01924 224497. Or email the person’s name and contact details to wakefield.covidtesting@nhs.net so the booking team can get in touch.

Wakefield’s local service will give priority to school children and essential workers. It is vital that only those displaying symptoms request a test so they can be used for those who really need them.

If a child, aged between 2 – 12 years has symptoms, a test can be brought to the house for the parent to swab the child. If the parent struggles to manage this then an assisted swabbing service can be offered for children aged 2 - 12 years where nursing staff can arrange a home visit to help.

Important Update Regarding the COVID Vaccine

Following extensive trials, the first safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in the UK and the NHS is starting to offer vaccinations to those at greatest risk from COVID-19.

The first vaccinations are being offered to people in the priority groups identified by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), starting with people aged 80 and over. Groups of GP practices are working together to provide local vaccination services and will contact eligible patients when it is their turn.

When it is the right time for you to receive your vaccination, you will receive an invitation via the phone or through a letter either from your GP or the national booking system.

We know lots of people will be eager to get protected but please could we kindly ask you not to contact the practice for information about the vaccine or to ask for an appointment, as you will not be able to get one until you receive an invitation.

If you are invited for a vaccine, please act on your invite straight away and make sure you attend your appointments when you arrange them.

In the meantime, please continue to abide by all the social distancing and hand hygiene guidance, which will still save lives

For more information about the vaccine, please see these frequently asked questions.

You can also visit www.nhs.uk or download the patient information leaflets on the following topics.