Following extensive trials, the first safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19 has been approved by regulators and is now available. Across our region, health and care organisations are working together to deliver the COVID-19 vaccine to those who need it most, as fast as we can. If you’ve not been invited for vaccination yet please do not worry, you’ll be invited as soon as it’s possible. To find out more, please read our latest statement on Cheshire and Merseyside’s COVID-19 Vaccination programme.
The roll out of the vaccines began on Tuesday 7th December 2020, following approval of Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on Wednesday 2nd December 2020.
Due to the sensitivities around how the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine is stored and moved, this first wave of the vaccination will be delivered in three Hospital Hubs in Cheshire and Merseyside. The three Hubs are provided by:
As further supplies of the vaccine enter the country, as well as other, soon-to-be-approved vaccines become available, more and more people on the JCVI’s priority list will be vaccinated. This will include Local Vaccine Services, provided by GPs and Pharmacies.
Detailed planning has taken place, both on a national and local level, building on the expertise and strong track record the NHS already has in delivering immunisations like the annual flu vaccination programme, to ensure that the COVID-19 vaccination programme does not impact on other vital services. These immunisations normally happen in settings like GP practices and community pharmacies and it is the intention that the COVID-19 vaccination will be delivered in a similar way.
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has published advice on the priority groups to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, advising that vaccines should first be given to care home residents and their carers, followed by people aged over 80 and health and social care workers, before being rolled out to the rest of the population in order of age and risk.
Vaccinating a large number of people as quickly as possible will require lots of staff and the NHS is clear that this vaccination programme should not have a negative effect on other important NHS services. Therefore, work is underway with local employers as well as national partners to initially recruit as many trained and experienced vaccinators as possible, including those working in primary care.
As well as this, temporary changes to national legislation will allow a wider group of clinical staff, including physiotherapists and paramedics, to become vaccinators, Public Health England (PHE) and Health Education England have developed training courses, including supervision from experienced staff, in order to upskill those groups.
For the Partnership, the main area of focus is the coordination of this vaccination programme, working with partners in local councils and social care in order to reach the priority groups outlined by the JCVI, as well as NHS partners to ensure that frontline staff and vulnerable groups are also vaccinated as soon as possible. This will also include effective communications and engagement, as well as support with the recruitment and the ongoing management of a large team of local vaccinators.