Thursday, 11 March 2021

Where can you get your vaccination?

The biggest vaccination programme in our country's history continues to go from strength to strength. People over the age of 55 are now beginning to receive their invitation letters, and in the Hexham constituency an incredible 4 in 10 of the adult population have now had at least one dose of the vaccine. This fantastic achievement is a testament to the amazing efforts locally of the NHS, our GP surgeries and support workers and volunteers.

Over the past couple of weeks I have been contacted by constituents who are concerned that they are being asked to travel long distances from their home when booking a vaccination appointment through the online booking system.

I have raised these concerns with the NHS vaccination programme in the North East, who have clarified how they are currently utilising various locations across the North East to vaccinate as many people as possible.

The vaccination programme is following the first phase priority groups, to ensure that those who are most at risk of serious illness from the coronavirus are vaccinated first.

Local GP practices are currently focusing on vaccinating those who are clinically vulnerable and have underlying health conditions. 

Meanwhile, people who are over 55 should receive a letter from the National Booking System inviting them to book a vaccination appointment at one of the large vaccination centres. These centres are situated at various locations across the North East, including Darlington, Washington and the Centre for Life in Newcastle. 

It is great to hear that so many constituents have been able to receive a vaccine at one of these large centres. However, I understand that other people might be uncomfortable or unable to travel further afield to be vaccinated. It is important to stress that even if you receive a letter to book through the National Booking System, you do not have to be vaccinated at a large vaccination centre. Everyone who wants to be vaccinated at the local GP vaccination service can be.

If you would prefer to be vaccinated at your own local GP practice, please ignore your letter and do not respond to the National Booking System. Instead, wait for your GP practice to contact you to arrange an appointment. This may not happen straight away and may it take a little while longer for them to contact you as they work through their priority groups, but your GP will be in touch with you to arrange an appointment as soon as they are able to.

I understand that people are extremely keen to receive their vaccine, however please do not contact the NHS or your GP practice to arrange your vaccine. They will contact you when it is your turn.