Patients group releases Covid vaccination message
- Credit: Press Association
In the wake of ongoing controversy surrounding the Covid vaccination programme, the St Albans and Harpenden Patients' Group has offered a detailed explanation on the current situation locally.
Following the approval of both the Pfizer-Biontech and Astra-Zeneca vaccines, SAPG contacted the Herts Advertiser to explain how the programme will work for patients in the district.
SAPG chairman John Wigley said the NHS has issued an order of priority for vaccinations, with the first four groups being patients in care homes; people aged 80 and over and front line NHS and social care workers; people aged 75 and over; and people aged 70 and over and those with vulnerable medical conditions.
He said: "Many thousands of people in these four groups live in and near St Albans and Harpenden, and to vaccinate them all as soon as possible requires a carefully planned project. Therefore all the local GP practices are cooperating together to provide a vaccination team.
"During the week of December 15-18 the team gave the first dose of the Pfizer-Biontech vaccine to 1,000-plus patients aged 80 and over. The team then spent two days giving the first dose to care home patients.
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"In each case, the team made an appointment to give the second dose. However, on December 30 the Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that the second dose would not be given until after 12 weeks, saying that the first dose gave a high level of immunity and so he had decided to give it as many people as possible as soon as possible.
"Our local team had to conform to the announcement and has been contacting all patients to whom it had given the first dose, a challenging task, but most patients and carers have been understanding and supportive.
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"Our team is now “geared up” to give more first doses and spent the New Year weekend preparing the Batchwood Sports Centre as our local vaccination site, ready for the first use of the Astra-Zeneca vaccine on Monday. The team is working closely with the GPs, St Albans district council and Community First, which is coordinating volunteer helpers."
He added that the team would like to hear from any health care professionals, not currently working in the NHS, who may be able to assist in this vital work. Please contact Zoe Matthews, the project site manager, at www.stahfed.co.uk for information.