Thanks to a collective effort, vaccinations are now well under way and I am delighted that all local care homes in the area have now been visited.
To date, vaccinations have been taking place at one specific site per “Primary Care Network” (which is a group of GPs), mainly due to the delicate nature of the Pfizer vaccine and the need to process a high number of patients in a short space of time. As you may know, the Pfizer vaccine must be stored at incredibly low temperatures, and once delivered, 975 vaccines must be used within 3½ days – the batch cannot be split up or moved to different sites. Additionally, space is required post-vaccination for a 15-minute observation of patients, which sadly in surgeries would be difficult whilst still allowing them to operate in the usual manner. That being said, since delivery of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine - which can be stored similar to a flu vaccine, and does not need an observation period - I’m pleased to confirm a number of local surgeries and pharmacies have started being used as part of the rollout.
As you can imagine, GPs are currently very busy, so please wait to be invited and do not contact your surgeries. If the practice has not been able to reach you initially, do not worry. They are all keeping lists and will come back to you. Our local health providers have worked immensely hard to get us to the position we are in today, and I am grateful to all of the volunteer marshals who are doing an excellent job at managing the safe movement of patients. This is another example of the incredible community response we've seen locally during the pandemic.
Across the district, Covid-19 cases are thankfully beginning to fall, (at the time of writing, 329.6 per 100,000 to 24th January) but infection rates remain very high and our NHS continues to operate under significant pressure. Our priority is clear; to make sure as many of our vulnerable residents get the vaccination as soon as possible, and to allow life to start to return to normal as quickly as it can. With the rollout of the vaccine I hope we can start to turn things around and make 2021 the story of human triumph over nature's adversity.
I know these are anxious times, and I am therefore keen to share as much information with you as possible. I have set up a dedicated webpage on my website, which is regularly updated:
However, if you have any further questions or wish to discuss a specific case please email me at email@example.com.
MP for Sevenoaks and Swanley
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