Your COVID-19 vaccine – information for people living in Essex and Suffolk

Content originally from EPUT

The NHS is vaccinating people in Essex and Suffolk against coronavirus as part of the biggest immunisation programme in NHS history.

The vaccination programme is well underway and is being ramped up following the approval and roll out of the Oxford/AstraZenaca vaccine.

Health and care staff are pulling out all the stops to open as many centres as possible as supplies become available. We now have five hospital vaccination hubs, more than 40 GP-led services and new vaccination centres opening shortly.

On Monday (18 January), the Lodge at Wickford in Essex is one of ten new large-scale vaccination centres opening this week – more than one million people aged 80 and over have now been invited to book their coronavirus jab as the NHS accelerates the immunisation programme, with a further 380,000 receiving their letters this weekend (16/17 January).

People aged 80 or over living up to a 45-minute drive from the centre are being written to with the option of choosing to arrange a vaccination there through the new national booking service. Alternatively people can choose to wait to be contacted shortly by their local GP-led vaccination service. More information can be found on the NHS England and NHS Improvement website. 

There are more than 1,000 vaccination sites nationally with the programme rapidly accelerating.

All information on Essex and Suffolk will be posted on this page as the new centres go live.

You can also view our latest slides on the roll out in Essex.

Hospital hubs

We now have five hospital vaccination hubs in operation.

Basildon University Hospital, Broomfield Hospital, Southend Hospital, Colchester Hospital and Ipswich Hospital  are now giving the COVID-19 vaccine to people considered the highest priority – those 80 and over, care home staff, and frontline priority health and care workers. They are operating from 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. More information below.

Meanwhile West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmonds has converted a floor on an office block into a staff vaccination hub and Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow is also vaccinating staff.

GP vaccination services

Family doctors and other primary care staff are vaccinating their most vulnerable patients –  there are now more than 40 GP-led services across the two counties.

Nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and other NHS staff are working alongside GPs to protect the community against coronavirus. They are giving the vaccine to patients considered at highest risk, people aged 80 and over as well as care home residents and staff.

People in mid and south Essex are being invited to the following 24 locations: Puzey Family Practice in Rochford; Danbury Medical Centre; Highland Surgery in Leigh-on-Sea; Stifford Clays Health Centre in Grays; The Brentwood Centre; Audley Mills Surgery in Rayleigh; Maldon District Council Offices; The Valkyrie Surgery in Westcliff-On-Sea; The Nevendon Centre, Wickford; Emmanuel Archer Hall, Billericay; Holy Trinity RC Parish Church Hall and George Hurd Centre, Basildon; The Paddocks Community Centre, Canvey Island; Whitley House Surgery, Chelmsford; Pump House Surgery, Earls Colne; Benfleet Clinic, Benfleet; Fern House Surgery, Witham; Crouch Vale Medical Centre, South Woodham Ferrers; Rivermead Gate Medical Centre, Chelmsford; Saxon Hall, Southend; Belle Vue Baptist Church, Southend; Salvation Army, Shoeburyness; Melbourne House Surgery, Chelmsford and St Michael’s Hospital, Braintree

In West Essex, five vaccination services have opened: Stansted Surgery in Stansted Mountfitchet, Spencer Close St Margaret’s Hospital in  Epping, Lister Medical Centre in Harlow, Lord Butler Leisure Centre, in Saffron Walden and Buckhurst Way Clinic in Buckhurst Hill.

In Suffolk and north east Essex, there are 20 sites open. Six locations went live in December, two in west Suffolk (Woolpit and Bury St Edmonds), two in Ipswich  and two in north east Essex (Clacton and Colchester). Fourteen more sites have opened this week (w/c 11 January), four in west Suffolk, nine in Ipswich and east Suffolk and one in north east Essex. These are Fryatt Hospital, Harwich; Jubilee Centre, Mildenhall; Constable Country Medical Practice, East Bergholt; Debenham Leisure Centre, The Epicentre, Haverhill Research Park; Hadleigh Health Centre, Hardwicke House Surgery Cornard branch, Sudbury; Lavenham branch, Long Melford Surgery; Saxmundham Health; Sizewell Sports & Social Club, Leiston; The Grove Medical Centre, Felixstowe; The Mix, Stowmarket; Trinity Park Conference Centre, Ipswich and Woodbridge Community Hall.

Please note, the NHS will contact people when it is their turn, please do not contact your GP practice for the vaccine. For most people this will be a letter, either from your GP or the national NHS. This letter will include all the information you will need to book appointments, including your NHS number. 

New larger scale vaccination centres

The first COVID-19 NHS vaccination centre in Essex is due to open on Monday (18 January).

The site in Runwell in Wickford is among the first vaccination centres in the East of England to open its doors to vaccinate people aged 80 and over, along with health and care staff. It will be open from 8am to 8pm and will be capable of delivering thousands of jabs each week, scaling up and down according to vaccine supplies.

Other NHS vaccination centres in the East of England are Norwich Food Court which opens on 18 January and Robertson House in Stevenage which opened last week. These centres are treating large numbers of patients in sporting venues, conference centres and NHS sites, as supplies of vaccine are distributed.

Please wait to be contacted

  • The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to have the vaccine, so please do not contact the NHS for a vaccination before then
  • Please act on your invite when it comes, and make sure you attend your appointments when you arrange them
  • Continue to abide by all the social distancing and hand hygiene guidance, which will still save lives.

Be aware of scams

The COVID-19 vaccine will always be available free of charge. The NHS will never ask you to share bank details to confirm your identity or pay for a vaccine.

Basildon, Broomfield and Southend Hospitals 

Latest information: Three vaccination hubs are open at Basildon, Broomfield and Southend Hospitals this week, 600 people are being vaccinated a day with capacity being increased in coming days.  Vaccinations will continue to be offered to people aged 80 and over as well as priority frontline health and care staff.

Colchester and Ipswich Hospitals

Latest information: Colchester Hospital was one of the first hospitals to begin vaccinating patients against coronavirus. Ipswich Hospital is now also administering the vaccine to the people aged  80 and over as well as priority frontline health and care staff.

Information 

For all the latest information on the national vaccination programme, please visit nhs.uk/CovidVaccine

How the COVID-19 vaccine is given

The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm. It’s given as 2 doses.

When the 2nd dose will be given

The latest evidence suggests the 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine provides protection for most people for up to 3 months.

As a result of this evidence, when you can have the 2nd dose has changed. This is also to make sure as many people can have the vaccine as possible.

The 2nd dose was previously 21 days after having the 1st dose, but has now changed to 12 weeks after. If you:

  • have already had your 1st dose and are due to have your 2nd dose before Monday 4 January, keep your appointment
  • have already had your 1st dose and are due to have your 2nd dose after Monday 4 January, the NHS will contact you about when you’ll have your 2nd dose
  • are due to have your 1st dose after Wednesday 30 December, you’ll be given your 2nd dose 12 weeks later

Suitability of the vaccine for you (FAQs)

We have a list of frequently asked questions on the suitability for you of the Pfizer and the Oxford/AstraZenaca vaccines.

If you have any questions on the suitability of the vaccine for you, you can email: epunft.askpharmacy@nhs.net. We cannot respond with personalised answers, but we will respond with a general answer and this FAQs will be updated according to the queries we receive.

Visit Pfizer’s public portal for helpful links.

Allergic reactions

Tell staff before you are vaccinated if you have ever had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis). You should not have the vaccine if you’ve ever had a serious allergic reaction to medicines, vaccines or food. If you do have a reaction to the vaccine, it usually happens in minutes. Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.

Advice if you’re of childbearing age, pregnant or breastfeeding (Updated 3 January 2020)

There’s no evidence the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. But more evidence is needed before you can be routinely offered the vaccine.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has updated its advice to recommend you may be able to have the vaccine if you’re:

  • pregnant and at high risk of serious complications of coronavirus
  • if you’re breastfeeding

Speak to a healthcare professional before you have the vaccination. They will discuss the benefits and risks of the COVID-19 vaccine with you.

You do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

Read the latest COVID-19 vaccine advice if you’re pregnant, may get pregnant or are breastfeeding on GOV.UK

Information leaflets

Guide for older adults
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-guide-for-older-adults

Women of childbearing age, currently pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-women-of-childbearing-age-currently-pregnant-planning-a-pregnancy-or-breastfeeding

Guide for healthcare workers
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-guide-for-healthcare-workers

Guide for social care staff
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-a-guide-for-social-care-staff

What to expect after vaccination
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-what-to-expect-after-vaccination

Questions answered

Q. I have received a text message – is it a scam?

A. If you have received a text message from Basildon, Broomfield or Southend Hospital it means that you are eligible to have the COVID-19 vaccine. The text you have received will have clear NHS Mid and South Essex (MSE) branding with a link that allows you to book an appointment and there will also be a telephone line option. If you are concerned that the message is a scam, please call 01245 515 919.

The Government has asked us to initially focus on those who are at highest risk of serious COVID complications – this principally being people who are over 80 years old, alongside people who work in care homes and some people who work in health and care who are classified as ‘high risk’.

Q. I have no transport to get to one of the hospital vaccination hubs, what can I do?

A. If you are unable to get to the hospital vaccination hub you will still be offered the vaccination, possibly in your own home, on another date by your primary care provider.  There are no patient transport services available for the vaccination programme.

Q. I don’t want to travel to hospital for the vaccine as it’s a COVID risk.

A. Our hospital vaccination hubs are safe and COVID secure. Any person needing to come to hospital should attend if they possibly can. The Basildon vaccination hub is inside the main entrance to the hospital in a newly built vaccination centre. Southend and Broomfield Hospitals’ hubs can be accessed without entering the main hospital buildings. Please follow the signs to the vaccination hubs. Those attending for their appointment must wear a mask and observe social distance guidelines.

Q. I have not been invited – should I have been?

A. The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to have the vaccination. Please act on your invite when it comes, and make sure you attend your appointments when you arrange them. Continue to stay at home to protect the NHS and abide by social distancing and hand hygiene guidance when you make essential journeys.

The Government has asked us to initially focus on those who are at highest risk of serious COVID complications.  Everybody will be invited to have the vaccination but this programme will take several months.

If you have not been contacted about having the COVID-19 vaccination, please read the information in the leaflet why you are being asked to wait https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-why-you-are-being-asked-to-wait

Q. Should patients contact their medical practice about existing medicines clashing with the vaccination?

A. It is important that anyone unsure about taking a particular type of vaccine should discuss it with their GP. All those people aged 80 and  over attending for a vaccine will receive a pre-assessment review by a doctor prior to having the vaccine.

Further general information about the vaccination programme may be found here https://www.england.nhs.uk/2020/12/hospitals-to-start-biggest-ever-nhs-vaccination-programme-this-week/