In this column last month, I wrote about the incredible national effort that had been unleashed to roll-out the vaccination programme across the country. As I write, over 20.5 million people have received their first vaccination. Here in the east the Norfolk and Waveney NHS Trust is leading the way with some of the highest vaccination figures in the United Kingdom. As this continues the Government is setting more ambitious targets. Everyone in the top nine priority groups will be offered the vaccine by 15 April, and the rest of the adult population by the end of July.
It’s great to see that so many people in the Great Yarmouth constituency have received the vaccine as we lead the world in our fight back against coronavirus. The complexities of administering this programme across a network of large vaccination centres and local GP practices are immense.
When constituents have contacted me about anomalies or hiccups in the system, I have raised these as a priority with local NHS managers. Occasionally when offered the jab through the website some residents have been unable to book an appointment at a convenient location. Instead, they are automatically offered options at a location too far away for them, I have been assured that if residents are unable to travel far, a closer option will be made available.
Local GP provision is focusing on 16-64 olds with pre-existing conditions, by far the largest single group. As provision both in sites and vaccine supply expands, I am confident that our rate of vaccinations will increase. We are well on track to achieve the target date of April 15th.
It is also important to remember that you should usually wait to be contacted by your local practice. So, there should be no need to phone either the James Paget Hospital or your surgery. There is a robust system in place, and you will be contacted directly.
Once again, a big thank you to everyone working across the NHS and the volunteers who are assisting to make sure everyone with the key groups are vaccinated. We are defeating this virus by the hundreds of thousands of jabs going into people’s arms every day, giving us hope as we look to a route back to normality.