Northumberland residents told they can still get vaccine locally if they don't want appointment in Newcastle

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Northumberland residents are being reassured they can have their Covid-19 vaccine locally.

Over the last ten weeks more than 72,000 vaccines have been delivered to those aged 70 and over across the county.

The next two priority groups currently being invited to have a vaccine are group five, those aged over 65, and group six, those aged between 16 and 64 with long term health conditions.

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People in group five will receive a letter inviting them to go to a large vaccination centre for their Covid-19 vaccination and are being asked to book an appointment via a national booking system.

The Centre for Life in Newcastle.The Centre for Life in Newcastle.
The Centre for Life in Newcastle.

Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is reminding those in group five that if they will find getting to a large vaccination centre difficult, they can wait and have their vaccine locally. They should ignore the invitation to book via the national booking system and wait for their GP practice to contact them.

Richard Hay, head of planning and operations at Northumberland CCG, said: “We appreciate that it may be difficult for some Northumberland residents in group five, particularly those in more remote and rural areas, to get to the large vaccination centre at the Centre for Life in Newcastle. We would like to remind those in this group that they are able to get their vaccine locally.

“If people choose not to get their vaccine at the Centre for Life, they should wait until their GP practice contacts them to make an appointment. These appointments won’t be offered as quickly as those from the large vaccination centre, so we ask people to please be patient and they should not call their GP practice. We would like to assure people that they will not be missed.”

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The next phase of the vaccine programme is to vaccinate priority groups five to nine, which is everybody over 50 years of age, by April 15.

This phase will also include delivering second doses of the vaccine to the most vulnerable groups who were vaccinated during December and January. To achieve this target the NHS in Northumberland will continue to work in partnership to deliver almost double the number of vaccines administered to date.

Due to Northumberland’s unique geography and rurality there is no single ideal location for people to have a vaccination.

As a result, Northumberland CCG is working with Primary Care Networks - groups of local GP practices working together to deliver the vaccination programme - to develop a Roving Vaccination Service.

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This service will provide additional vaccination capacity and take vaccines to the most hard to reach communities. They will be delivered from suitable premises such as village halls. It is hoped that this model will increase vaccination capacity across the county by up to 1,000 doses per day in the coming weeks.

Mr Hay continued: “The health system, and everyone else involved, across Northumberland has done a phenomenal job to vaccinate so many people in a relatively short space of time. We would like to thank everyone involved. We also thank the public for their patience and understanding as we work hard through this incredibly challenging time.”

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