The COVID-19 vaccination programme is the biggest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS. Thanks to some truly outstanding work done by their clinicians, support staff, the patient participation group members and community volunteers, the rollout across Oxfordshire is well under way.
Monday 4th January was a momentous day for Oxfordshire and an historic day for the NHS as the rollout of the new Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine began at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford.
A dialysis patient under the care of Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) was the very first in the world to be vaccinated with the Oxford Vaccine at OUH's COVID vaccination 'hospital hub' at the Churchill. Brian Pinker, 82, a retired maintenance manager who has been having dialysis for kidney disease at the Churchill for a number of years, was the first person to receive the vaccination from OUH Chief Nursing Officer, Sam Foster. Brian was pleased to be getting the vaccine and was very proud it was the one invented in Oxford.
Across Oxfordshire 22 different sites will be offering COVID-19 vaccinations to the top two priority groups by the end of next week (15th January). The first vaccinations were delivered to patients (aged 80 and over), care workers and frontline NHS staff on 8th December at the county's first hospital hub. Provided by Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) and based at the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, the hospital hub was one of the first 50 hospital hubs to go live in England.
Since then 18 vaccination services have opened in a phased approach, led by GPs, across the following primary care network sites:
Chipping Norton Health Centre
Hart Surgery, Henley
Banbury Cross Health Centre
Jericho Health Centre
Barton Neighbourhood Centre
Windrush Health Centre in Witney
Leys Health Centre in Oxford
Wallingford Community Hospital
Morland House Surgery
Clifton Hampden Centre
The Heritage Centre
Kennington Health Centre
Didcot Civic Hall
Islip Medical Practice
Wantage Health Centre
The final three site will start vaccinations next week in Carterton, Faringdon and the Grimsbury area of Banbury. Plans are also underway for the Oxfordshire Vaccination Centre to be operational by the end of January which will be the Oxfordshire site for mass vaccinations and provided by Oxford Health.
In Oxfordshire good progress has been made in vaccinating approximately one third of those over 80 so far. The local NHS is working hard to deliver the vaccinations as quickly as they can and as quickly as supplies are made available. Because there is a phased approach being taken, some people are waiting longer than others. Everyone in the priority groups, registered with an Oxfordshire GP practice, will be invited in due course.
It is extremely encouraging to see the enthusiasm for the vaccine and to have a sense of an end being in sight. NHS staff in Oxfordshire welcome the support of system partners and the wider public as they work hard to deliver this programme at the same time as managing the demands of the COVID infections and winter pressures.
It will still take several months for the whole population to be vaccinated. We can all help by asking people to be patient and to reassure them they they will be invited for a vaccination as soon as possible. The following messages to the public are intended to help reassure you and help reduce the number of telephone and email enquires from individuals:
The vaccination programme is being phased in across the county following the national guidance on prioritising patients. Some people have already been vaccinated and others are still waiting to be invited.
Please do not contact your GP or another NHS service to seek a vaccine - GP practices are still open for providing care to patients and their phones could become swamped, please wait until the NHS contacts you.
When the NHS does contact you, please be ready and attend your booked appointment.
Please continue to follow all the public health guidance to control the spread of the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.