Our first 3 Hospital Hubs delivered the first vaccine on Tuesday 8th December as planned. Mona Thomas (age 92), from Tarvin, was the first patient to receive the Covid-19 vaccine in the region at around 8am. Since then, more than 3,300 of the highest priority people have been vaccinated, with all 3 Trusts using up their initial allocation of vaccine. We expect the first Primary Care Network sites to start delivering vaccine from 15th December.
The Government’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has confirmed the first priority for use should be the prevention of Covid-19 mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems. This means that older adults who are resident in care homes, and their carers, will be the top priority, followed by those 80 years of age or older together with frontline health and social care workers. For our 3 NHS Hospital Hubs, this means that initial vaccine has been prioritised for those 80 years of age or over, care home workers and the most clinically vulnerable NHS staff.
Mass Vaccination Programme
- The NHS has planned extensively to deliver the largest vaccination programme in our history, providing three different delivery methods; Hospital Hubs (where we know the Pfizer vaccine can be stored safely), Local Vaccine Services (provided by GPs and Pharmacies) and Vaccination Centres (large sites convenient for transport networks)
- Our first 3 Hospital Hubs (Countess of Chester, Clatterbridge and Aintree) delivered the first vaccine on Tuesday 8th December as planned. With a focus on vaccinating over 80s and Care Home Staff in addition to the most clinically vulnerable NHS staff, over 3,300 of the highest priority people have been vaccinated in the first few days, with all 3 Trusts using up the initial allocation of vaccine and in receipt of second batch. An offer has been made by all 3 Hubs to enable the clinically extremely vulnerable and other high priority NHS Staff across C&M to be able access a vaccine in advance of additional hubs going live. This will require mutual aid in the form of additional vaccinating and admin staff given the additional scope of vaccination now being asked of the 3 Hubs. All 3 Hubs are also working with Local Authorities to get details of eligible care home workers to ensure they are able to access a vaccine appointment.
- JCVI state that evidence strongly indicates that the single greatest risk of mortality from COVID-19 is increasing age and that the risk increases exponentially with age. Mathematical modelling indicates that the optimal strategy for minimising future deaths or quality adjusted life year (QALY) losses is to offer vaccination to older age groups first. These models assume an available vaccine is both safe and effective in older adults. Data also indicate that the absolute risk of mortality is higher in those over 65 years than that seen in the majority of younger adults with an underlying health condition. Accordingly, the Committee’s advice largely prioritises based on age. Age-based programmes are usually easier to implement and therefore achieve higher vaccine uptake. An age-based programme is also likely to increase uptake in those with clinical risk factors as the prevalence of these increases with age.
- Accordingly, residents in a care home for older adults and their carers are the number 1 priority. All those 80 years of age and over together with frontline health & social care workers are the next priority, and efforts will now be focussed on ensuring vaccine is made available to these top priorities. JCVI priorities are set out at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-2-december-2020/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-2-december-2020
- We expect that the first wave of Local Vaccine Services, delivered by General Practice staff in Primary Care Network settings, will begin to go live from Tuesday 15th December, with around a dozen sites planned in the first tranche. Further waves are planned to go live in the coming weeks so that by early January we aim to have close to 50 sites delivering vaccine across Cheshire & Merseyside.
- We await confirmation of the launch date for the first Mass Vaccination Site at Saints Rugby Stadium, now expected to be early January 2021. Following that, we will start to open additional sites with more than 25 possible sites still possible depending upon the capacity at our PCN sites. If all these sites open, and allowing for a 10 mile radius, we will see good coverage of most parts of Cheshire & Merseyside.