A HEALTH director has praised Rotherham for being “ahead of the curve” with Covid-19 vaccinations as 60,000 people across the borough have now received their first dose.
Ian Atkinson, executive place director for Rotherham NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said he felt confident all four top priority groups will have been invited to have their first dose of the life-saving vaccine by the government’s deadline of February 15.
“We are ahead of the curve in Rotherham with Covid-19 vaccinations and we’re so proud of what’s been achieved in the last eight weeks,” added Mr Atkinson.
“From all our sites across Rotherham, 60,000 people have now had their first jab of the vaccine.
“I can confidently say everyone in the top four priority groups will have been invited to have their first dose by February 15.”
Anyone aged 70 and over, or those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable after having received an NHS letter requesting them to shield, is advised to contact the CCG to arrange to have the vaccine, Mr Atkinson urged.
Those residents registered at Swallownest, Thurcroft, Dinnington and Kiveton Park GP practices are asked to contact their GP surgery to arrange an appointment.
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Everyone else registered with a Rotherham GP should email email@example.com with their full name, date of birth and postcode.
The CCG’s booking team will then make contact.
Housebound patients should have heard about their first vaccine by the end of this week with community nurses continuing to work seven days a week to give people in this group their first dose vaccination.
“With around 3,000 housebound patients across Rotherham, we’re working through the list, and we’ll get to them as quickly as possible,” Mr Atkinson said.
The CCG will begin inviting residents under the age of 70 for their first vaccine jab within the next couple of weeks.
There is also proactive planning underway to start the first rounds of the second dose of the vaccine.
“Even though we’re doing well in Rotherham, things will start to become more challenging in the coming weeks as we undertake both first and second doses of the vaccine,” the health director added.
“Each first and second dose is the same and our computer systems will indicate to staff which vaccine are you having — as well as our staff asking this question on your arrival to a vaccination site.
“All vaccines continue to be subject to supply, decided at a national level.”
CCG chief nurse Sue Cassin urged people to continue with social distancing and the “hands, face, space” national message even if you’ve had your first dose of the vaccine.
“It can take around three weeks for the vaccine to reach it’s best potential,” she added.
“We have a long journey ahead of us and we’re still in a national lockdown so even if you’ve had the vaccine, you must still follow the national guidance.”
Mr Atkinson and Ms Cassin thanke everyone, including staff, patients and volunteers for their help and support with the vaccine work so far.