COVID-19 Latest News and Updates
Following extensive trials, the COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in the UK and is now available to priority groups.
Vaccinations are being delivered according to priority groups identified by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The vaccinations may not take place at your GP practice, but rather a local vaccination service (led by GPs, practice nurses and community pharmacists) who are responsible for delivering the vaccine to people in your community.
When it is the right time for you to receive your vaccination, you will receive an invitation to come forward. This may be via the phone, or through a letter either from your GP or the national booking system.
We know lots of people will be eager to get protected but we are asking people not to contact us to get an appointment as you will not be able to get one until you are contacted.
Phases of the COVID Vaccination Programme
This is the official NHS information on the phased approach to the COVID Vaccination Programme.
Phase 1 - direct prevention of mortality and supporting the NHS and social care system. JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age. The order of priority for each group in the population corresponds with data on the number of individuals who would need to be vaccinated to prevent one death, estimated from UK data obtained from March to June 2020.
It is estimated that taken together, these groups represent around 99% of preventable mortality from COVID-19.
This is what we are following at Brannam Medical Centre along with all practices in North Devon. Each category has thousands of patients in and we are on cohorts 1-9 at the moment.
We will contact patients directly to invite you or you may now receive a text message (please see below for more information on text message invites), these appointments will be held at North Devon Leisure Centre.
Once you have received your vaccination it is still important to remember to wash your hands regularly, wear a face mask and keep your distance.
Barnstaple Alliance COVID-19 VaccinAid
The Barnstaple Alliance (network of the four GP practices in Barnstaple: Litchdon, Queens, Fremington & Brannam) are raising money for UNICEF's VaccinAid to help deliver COVID-19 vaccinations, tests and treatment around the world.
Here are some hard hitting statistics and words from our very own Dr Olliver Hassall, Co-Clinical Director for the Barnstaple Alliance.
"Over the next few weeks, our amazing staff and volunteers of the Barnstaple Alliance Primary Care Network will be giving Covid booster and flu vaccinations to nearly 15,000 of our most vulnerable patients. We realise, however, that we are incredibly fortunate to be able to do so. From a global perspective, there is glaring inequity in access to covid vaccines and, unless redressed, this will have a profound and lasting impact on the health and livelihoods of people living in less well-off societies.
Governments and international organisations could and should be doing more to redress this imbalance. As citizens we can put pressure on our political leaders to do so but, at Barnstaple Alliance, we have asked ourselves what else we as a community can do to help. So, we have decided to join UNICEF in the biggest health and logistics project in history. The VaccinAid 'Give The World A Shot' campaign is raising funds to deliver 2 billion vaccines, 5.6 million tests and 5.5 million treatments around the world this year. We have registered our vaccination site at the North Devon Leisure Centre as a fundraising site, so that people receiving their vaccines there, other patients and staff can donate directly to VaccinAid.
We really hope that you will join us in helping to address some of the injustices revealed by the covid pandemic.
NOT GETTING A COVID VACCINE WILL NOT HELP!
COVID-19 Vaccine Clinic
We have worked through the 9 Cohorts and are now working on the second vaccinations. We will be contacting you when you are due. Where possible, we will be using text messages that provide a link for booking, so please ensure your contact details are up to date with us. For any patient that does not have a mobile number listed on their record, we will either telephone you or send you a letter.
- residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
- all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
- all those 75 years of age and over
- all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
- all those 65 years of age and over
- all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
- all those 60 years of age and over
- all those 55 years of age and over
- all those 50 years of age and over
Please ONLY contact the surgery if you are over 50 and wish to have a vaccination on 01271 329004 or if you are 10 weeks since having your 1st vaccination and have not heard from us.
COVID-19 Boosters and Flu Vaccinations
Following the COVID-19 booster guidance released last week, we have received confirmation we can run co-administered Flu & COVID-19 booster clinics back at the North Devon Leisure Centre. We will be looking to invite patients who are aged 65 years or older and patients who are aged 16 -64 years with some underlying health conditions to these clinics to have both vaccines administered at the same time.
We would like to re-assure patients we are working hard to get our clinics up and running as soon as possible so our eligible patients are able to have both Flu and COVID-19 booster administered at one appointment. We will invite these patients via telephone or text message. The NHS National Booking System
is also getting ready to contact eligible patients to invite them to book their appointment online for their COVID-19 booster vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccination programme in Devon enters next phraseThe vaccination programme is entering phase two - covering people aged 18-49. Full information on the Devon wide approach to the second phase can be found here.
Deputy chief nurse and mass vaccination lead Andrea Bell at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust is pictured far right with colleagues at Barnstaple Leisure Centre, where the trust will be offering vaccinations to local people from May.
Vaccinations for 16-17 year olds
The JCVI is now advising that all 16 and 17 years olds receive their first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The updated advice means that the JVCI are confident that young people will be afforded around 80% protection against hospitalisation, following receipt of their first dose. It is expected that protection will probably be even higher as younger people respond better to vaccines and some will have already had the COVID-19 infection, meaning they will have an even better response to a first dose.
Appointments are now available as walk ins at the North Devon Leisure Centre. For more information on available dates please keep looking on Brannam Facebook and Twitter or Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust Facebook and NDHT Twitter sites.
Vaccinations for 38-49 year olds
The NHS has started inviting people aged 38 and over to book a COVID-19 vaccination. You will receive an invite from the National Booking Service to book directly with them.
We continue to book appointments for 2nd vaccinations for those patients who had their 1st through us. These appointments are time crucial and will be booked in the 11th week following date of 1st vaccination. It is vitally important that you complete the course within 12 weeks of receiving the 1st vaccine to ensure maximum benefit and it's extremely important that you attend when invited due to allocation of vaccines.
Please listen out for a phone call or text message from us a few days before you are due.
On Thursday 11th May the National Booking Service will start to send text messages to people aged 38 and 39 year olds, inviting them to book their vaccination appointments through the National Booking Service (NBS).
In line with JVCI guidance, the NBS now allows people in this age group, without an underlying health condition, to book into an appointment offering an alternative to the AstraZeneca.
Vaccinations for under 50 year olds
The vaccination site will continue at North Devon Leisure Centre in Barnstaple, but the running of the site will be taken on by Northern Devon Healthcare Trust and bookings can be made through the National Booking Service - not the GP practice.
Andrea Bell, deputy chief nurse at Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust, said "Our team has delivered over 16,000 vaccinations at our clinics for health and social care workers at North Devon District Hospital. Now that those clinics have come to an end, we're delighted that we can move on to support vaccinating local people in cohorts 10-12, once eligible, at the Leisure Centre in Barnstaple. Our vaccinators, admin team and volunteers are all looking forward to supporting the next stage of the vaccination programme so that our community in Northern Devon gets the best available protection from coronavirus. Once you are eligible for the vaccination, please make your booking through the National Booking Service from early May. We look forward to seeing you."
A spokesperson for the 14 GP practices who have been running the vaccination centre at Barnstaple Leisure Centre said "We have successfully vaccinated over 50,000 people and we are now focusing on the 2nd doses for this group. We have been pleased to be involved with the national programme, vaccinating the highest risk patients, however we are now handing over the running of the vaccination programme for cohorts 10-12 (those aged 18-49 years old) and we are working with the hospital for a smooth transition."
The National Booking Service currently offers appointments at Arnold's Pharmacy in Westward Ho! and now show Barnstaple Leisure Centre as well - if at first appointments do not show please keep trying as the system is updated regularly.
Health and social care self-declare booking function re-enabled on NBS.
As the National Booking Service functionality has now changed in line with the JVCI guidance on use of AstraZeneca vaccine, the self-declare function allows frontline eligible health and social care workers to book through the National Booking Service, will be re-enabled from Thursday 13th May.
Pregnant women booking on the NBS.
From Thursday 13th May, the new NBS functionality will enable pregnant women to book appointments at a site that offers the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine following a series of screening questions.
I’m now eligible for the vaccine, as I’m aged 18-49 – can I be vaccinated at the GP practice?
The practice will not be running vaccination clinics for people aged 18 – 49, when they become eligible. We were set up as a service for people aged 50 and over only. There are a wide range of alternative local options for people who are due to be vaccinated next.
So where can I get my vaccine from?
You will be contacted by the NHS when it is your turn and invited to book an appointment via the national booking service at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by phoning 119. You will be given the option of attending a local participating pharmacy or vaccination centre. It’s really important that when you get your invitation, you take up the offer of having the vaccine, as you will be protecting yourself and friends and family around you.
Will I have to wait longer?
No, you shouldn’t have to wait any longer for your vaccine.
I fall in to one of the first Cohorts – how can I get my vaccine?
If you are 50 years old or older or are in another eligible group and haven’t had your vaccine yet, it’s important you are vaccinated as soon as possible. You can access an appointment through the practice, from the national booking service at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by phoning 119.
What about getting my second dose of the vaccine?
If you have already had one dose of the vaccine, you will be able to get your second dose using the same service as with your first.
Are you withdrawing from the programme because there is a problem with the rollout of the vaccine?
There are no issues with the further rollout of the vaccine programme. When we were asked to help deliver the COVID-19 vaccination programme it was to vaccinated people in cohorts 1 – 9 only. This is all people aged 50 years old and older and those who fit into the other eligible groups.
There are a number of other services in this area that have sufficient capacity to be able to vaccinate everyone who is eligible when it is their turn.
Where can I get more information about the vaccine?
You can find more information about the COVID-19 vaccination programme NHS.UK website.
A new film shares experiences from Devon vaccination centres
A new film, launched by the NHS in Devon, highlights the positive experiences of patients, volunteers and staff across the county’s vaccination centres.
Getting the Coronavirus vaccine – A Message from Devon aims to reassure people about both having the vaccination and the process of attending a centre. It encourages others to take up the opportunity when they are invited. Providers and vaccination sites can easily share the video from You Tube on their own channels.
Please remember that even after having your vaccination everyone still needs to socially distance, wear face masks and wash your hands regularly.
Frontline workers are eligible for the vaccine. For all of the roles listed below, photo ID and evidence of employment will be required. These are the 3 distinct groups;
Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust Staff
- NDHT employed staff
- NDHT volunteers/bank/agency/locums
- Sodexo staff working at NDHT sites
- Devon Partnership Trust staff for Northern Locality
- SWAST staff for Northern Locality
- Staff from other Acute Hospital Trusts
If you are one of the above you need to contact NDHT on firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Healthcare staff working in the Northern Locality NOT in the above group
This includes dentists, opticians, chiropodists or anyone in a healthcare role. Ideally through your manager, you need to contact email@example.com
Other Social Care staff working in the Northern Locality NOT in the above groups
For anyone in a social care role. Ideally through your manager, you need to contact MassVac-CareProvision@devon.gov.uk
From Monday 16th August, people who are double jabbed or aged under 18 will no longer be legally required to self-isolate if they are identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. The change was announced last month, as part of step 4 of the government’s COVID-19 roadmap
As of Monday, double jabbed individuals and under 18s who are identified as close contacts by NHS Test and Trace will be advised to take a PCR test as soon as possible to check if they have the virus and for variants of concern. People can order a PCR home test online or by calling 119, or going to a test site. For more information please visi
An NHS COVID Pass shows your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination details or test results. This is your COVID-19 status.
If you have full access to the NHS App, and are registered at a GP surgery in England, you can view and share your COVID Pass for event trails and travel abroad. If you do not have full access to the NHS APP, you can still get your COVID Pass. Please scroll down further for more information on the NHS App. For more information on the NHS COVID Pass please click here.
COVID Vaccination & International Travel
Demonstrating your COVID-19 vaccination status allows you to show others that you’ve had a full course of the COVID-19 vaccine when travelling abroad to some countries or territories. A full course is currently 2 doses of any approved vaccine.
COVID-19 vaccination status is available to people who live in England and are registered with a GP.
Your NHS appointment card from vaccination centres cannot be used to demonstrate your vaccine status.
How to access your COVID-19 vaccination status
Through the NHS App
You can access your COVID-19 vaccination status through the free NHS App. You can access the app through mobile devices such as a smartphone or tablet. Proof of your COVID-19 vaccination status will be shown within the NHS App. We recommend that you register with the app before booking international travel. For access via the NHS App you do not need to contact your GP.
This is not the same as the NHS COVID-19 app.
The NHS App will continue to be developed with further updates in the future. This will include the ability to show your COVID-19 test results.
Through the NHS website
You can view your COVID-19 vaccination status online and download or print it as a PDF document.
You will need to register for an NHS login if you do not have one already, to access the service. NHS login registrations may take longer than usual when there are high numbers of requests.
Access your COVID-19 vaccination status via the NHS website.
By calling 119
If you do not have access to a smartphone, computer or tablet and know that the country you are travelling to requires COVID-19 vaccination status, you can call 119 and ask for a letter to be posted to you.
Request a letter only if you:
- have been fully vaccinated by the NHS in England (you should wait 5 working days after your second dose)
- are planning to travel in the next 4 weeks to a country that requires evidence of COVID vaccination
- cannot access the digital service via the NHS App
We expect the letter to take up to 7 working days to reach you.
The letter will be sent to the address registered with your GP. The 119 call handler you speak to will not be able to see your address to check this with you. If you have recently moved house, make sure you’ve given your new address to your GP practice before calling 119.
Do not contact your GP surgery about your COVID-19 vaccination status. GPs cannot provide letters showing your COVID-19 vaccination status.