Latest COVID Booster Vaccination update

Posted by: philheiden - Posted on:

17th Dec 2021

The COVID booster programme has been made the NHS number 1 priority. We have been asked to stop routine services to move workforce into vaccination centres. Here in Andover we have carried out the national ask and added additional capacity to support the programme. All patients over the age of 18years, who had their 2nd dose longer than 3 months ago, have all now been invited forward for an appointment. Wherever possible please book via the SMS text message online booking service to protect our Practice phone lines.

29th Nov 2021

Rather frustratingly, we, on the frontline, only ever seem to hear of new COVID groups to vaccinate and delivery expectations in the National Press rather than via official NHS communication channels. 

These news announcements often don’t inform the public of the detail beneath the headline. However, more importantly they don’t explain that we cannot start the vaccination administration process until all legal contracts and  clinical guidelines have come down from the National Departments and communicated to all the appropriate NHS workforce, been signed and returned!

Tonight’s announcement was that all adults will be offered the COVID Booster 3 months after their Primary Course.

So although that is the headline the reality and detail beneath this is:

The booster will be offered in order of descending age groups, with priority given to the vaccination of older adults and those in a COVID-19 at-risk group. In response to the changing risk posed by the Omicron variant, the booster will now be given no sooner than 3 months after the primary course.

The NHS is doing about 2.5 million boosters a week on average at the moment. At that rate it will take three months to vaccinate all those eligible. Increasingly that will not be easy. About 50 mass vaccination centres have closed since the Spring. Many GPs have also stepped back to concentrate on flu jabs and their day-to-day work. It means the solution is likely to lie in extending the opening hours of current vaccination clinics late into the evenings and relying on bringing in extra staff and volunteers to help.

As a group of Andover practices we remain committed to keeping our COVID Vaccination hub open. This is despite the significant pressure on our Practices at present. (Please note that Andover is up there with the highest uptake percentage across the different eligible groups and number of vaccines administered in comparison to local and national statistics).

PLEASE DO NOT PHONE THE PRACTICE TO CHASE YOUR BOOSTER APPOINTMENT. YOU WILL BE INVITED BY SMS TEXT MESSAGE IN CLINICAL RISK ORDER ABOVE AND WHEN WE HAVE CAPACITY. You are more than welcome to try 119 (the National booking service) to see if there are any earlier appointments but they will not offer you our Andover site. 

We urge you to listen to our above plea and NOT phone to book your booster.  We are already struggling with huge phone line pressures in part due to an inadequate number of lines and this will further compound the issue and will prevent urgent clinical contacts that need us