Vaccination programme set to ramp up as 152,000 vaccines delivered

NHS Tayside is making preparations to step up activity in its community vaccination centres for the next priority groups as the vaccination teams deliver almost 152,000 jabs.

Currently, those in priority group 6 on the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) prioritisation list are being invited for vaccination. This includes people aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions and adult unpaid carers. Detailed information on who is eligible in this group is available at www.nhsinform.scot/covid-19-vaccine.

This is one of the largest and most complex groups on the priority list so it may take several weeks to complete invitations. The vaccination teams are making great progress with more than 33,000 people in this group already having had a vaccination, so please be patient. If you are eligible you will get an invitation.

More than 146,300 people have now had their first vaccination in Tayside, which is around 41% of the adult population in Tayside. This means that NHS Tayside remains one of the top performing boards in Scotland in terms of population vaccinated. So far, around 97% of people in Tayside who are over 70, 87% of those shielding and 89% aged 65-69 have had a vaccination.

NHS Tayside is also now delivering second doses to patient-facing health and social care workers, care home staff and residents, with more than 5,300 having had both doses of the vaccine.

The majority of vaccinations for priority group 6 are being delivered in Tayside by our GPs, with the remainder being done in the community vaccination centres along with the small number of those in the 65-69 age group and in earlier groups who have not yet had a vaccination.

The next stage of the programme will see those aged 60-64 invited for vaccination at the community vaccination centres. Invites for this group will begin later this month when vaccinations are expected to significantly increase following a temporary dip in vaccine supplies nationally.

To allow preparations for this next group, the community vaccination centres will be temporarily stepped down this weekend (6-7 March) before activity is ramped up again from next week. All subsequent priority groups will be invited for their vaccination at a community centre, as GPs finish priority group 6 then move into delivering second doses.

Dr Daniel Chandler, Associate Director of Public Health with NHS Tayside, said, “I’m delighted we’ve reached this milestone of over 150,000 vaccinations in Tayside. To have reached so many people in only four months is a massive achievement and is down to the hard work and dedication of so many people from across NHS Tayside, the health and social care partnerships, our GPs and council partners.

“In NHS Tayside, we have developed a blended model of vaccination in GP surgeries, care homes, hospitals, community vaccination centres and patients’ own homes, which allows us to adapt and flex depending on the current stage of the programme.

“This means that the clinic requirements will vary by priority group and vaccination centres or GP delivery may be temporarily stood down and opened again as demand and vaccine supplies require.  There may also be some overlap between the different groups as we move onto new cohorts as soon as we are able.

“As our GP colleagues continue to focus on vaccinating those with health conditions and unpaid carers, our central teams are preparing for the next priority groups which are those aged 60-64, 55-59 and 50-54.

“It may take another couple of weeks to get through the whole of group 6 so please be patient and do not worry if you have not yet been contacted or if you hear of others being contacted before you. People in this group can be as young as 16 and many will have underlying conditions which may not be obvious to others.

“Everyone in Tayside has made a great effort to drive down the infection rates, and we need everyone to keep sticking to the FACTS guidance and lockdown rules to ensure that cases continue to fall as we work our way through the vaccination programme.

“Our booking teams continue to make thousands of calls every day to arrange appointments in GP practices and community clinics across Tayside so please only call them with enquiries if you are in the previous groups e.g. over 65 or shielding.”

Who is eligible in the current group?

  • People who have conditions which are included in the JCVI list such as diabetes, dementia, severe asthma or COPD, certain cancers, or liver or kidney disease.  It also includes those who have had an organ transplant, a stroke, have a learning disability, a BMI of more than 40, or are severely mentally ill.
  • Adults who provide unpaid face-to-face care for someone else due to a disability, ill-health, frailty or addiction issues.

How will they be invited?

  • In Tayside, most people who are eligible in these groups will be called directly by their GP practice or the NHS Tayside booking teams to offer an appointment.
  • Most people will be called from a local NHS Tayside phone number. However, occasionally it may show up as a private or mobile phone number.  Please answer these calls if you can.
  • Anyone who identifies as a carer but does not receive carers benefits, or who is not registered as a carer with their GP practice, will be invited to register at a later date using a national system after which you will receive details of your appointment by letter.  This is in line with arrangements across all of Scotland.  Further information will follow when this is available.

What about the previous priority groups?

  • So far, around 97% of people in Tayside who are over 70, 87% of those shielding and 89% aged 65-69 have had a vaccination.
  • There is a small number of patients who our booking teams have not yet been able to reach in these groups despite best efforts.
  • Therefore, anyone aged over 70 or who is shielding who hasn’t been contacted should call their GP who will either offer an appointment in their own practice or will ensure they get vaccinated at their local community vaccination centre.
  • Anyone aged 65-69 who hasn’t been contacted yet should email tay.c19vaxlocalenquiries@nhs.scot or call 01382 423108.  This is currently for people aged 65-69 only so please do not call with queries if you are not in this age group.