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.
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.
Some of our patients might be receiving letters or text messages asking them to call 119 to book their COVID vaccines. This is the NHS England line for Pharmacy and Mass vaccination sites. If you choose to, you can respond to these invitations and go to those sites, but we are still offering vaccines as an ongoing process and our current appointments will continue as planned.
If you choose not to go to another site and instead want it with us in Barnstaple then you don't respond to the national booking team and instead wait to hear from us.
Please DO NOT call the surgery trying to book after receiving the NHS England letter or text message (even if they advise this), as the booking system is different to ours and we are contacting patients directly.
Online Booking System for COVID Vaccinations
We are continuing to work with other GP Practices to invite individuals to the Barnstaple Leisure Centre for their COVID vaccinations. We are working our way through the cohorts, as set out by the national team. We are now sending invites via SMS (text message) rather than telephone calls, if you have registered a mobile phone number with us. This will include a link to book your appointment directly through a system called Accurx. The SMS (text message) will say.....
Dear *Patient name*
You have been invited to book your COVID-19 vaccinations. Please click the link to book your vaccination times *link to site*
Brannam Medical Centre
If we do not have your mobile phone details you will be contacted by telephone by one of our team, but please ensure we have your up to date details on record.
Invites to the mass vaccination centres at Exeter, Taunton and Wadebridge as well as Westward Ho! are also being sent out by a central national team and we do not have the facilities to book for those. We are working hard to vaccinate as many of our patients as quickly as we can and we hope that this service will be easier for patients to book in when is most convenient for them.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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