A total of over 324,000 south east Londoners have now been given their first Covid-19 vaccines, with one hundred percent of the top four priority groups being offered jabs before the February 14 deadline.
Work started back in December when Bromley pensioner Lyn Wheeler (81) became one of the first in the UK to be administered the jab at Guy’s hospital, and since then staff have been extraordinarily busy across south east London.
In efforts to vaccinate residents across the region, health bodies such as Our Healthier South East London have worked together to establish 41 vaccination centres, including 25 coordinated by local GPs, nine hospital sites and even pharmacies.
In addition, a number of community-based, pop-up vaccination hubs have been set up in local boroughs, for example, the Al-Emaan Centre in Bromley and a double-decker bus in Greenwich – more of these pop-up hubs will be introduced across south east London.
Andrew Bland, Our Healthier South East London Integrated Care System Lead, said the work of staff across south east London has been “outstanding.”
“I would like to thank all of the staff, community groups and volunteers who have played their part in this mass vaccination programme so far.”
But he added: “Whilst we celebrate this milestone achievement and move into the next vaccination group, we are by no means complacent.
“There are still residents eligible for a vaccination who are yet to be vaccinated and we encourage you to do so. Whilst we have made every effort to contact all patients in the first four priority groups, the opportunity to get vaccinated continues to be there. Simply contact your GP or use the national booking service to get booked in.”
The effort has seen more than 324,000 residents in the four priority groups – over 70s, the clinically extremely vulnerable and residents and staff in care homes for older adults – vaccinated before February 14.
Statistics show that 83% of south east London residents aged over 80 have been vaccinated by this date, and also 83% of 75-79 year olds.
Around 81% of 70-74 year olds, 86% of older people’s care homes and 73% of residents who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
All members of these groups have now reportedly been offered Covid-19 vaccines.
South East London CCG say local GPs are responsible for helping ensure 100% of care homes have been visited, and work continues to ensure health and social care staff, including care home staff, receive their vaccination.
The next chapter of the Covid vaccination programme nationally and locally has now begun, with residents aged over 65 and those with underlying health conditions at high or moderate risk from the virus will be invited to have their vaccinations from today.
Healthcare professionals from across south east London are reportedly working together to apply the learning from the first round of vaccinations to reduce hesitancy and remove any barriers to vaccination.
Ultimately, all Our Healthier South East London Integrated Care System partners seek to maximise vaccination rates and reduce variation amongst all people in south east London.
Dr Andrew Parson, local GP and the COVID Vaccination Clinical Lead added: “Getting your COVID-19 vaccination will help to protect you and your family and those you care for.
“Our message to anyone who has not yet come forward to have their vaccination is that we are here for you, and when you decide to have your vaccination, your local GP practice can make an appointment for you as soon as possible.
“We have made a commitment to vaccinate all those people who would like to have their vaccination according to the government’s timetable and we are providing residents with the information they require to make an informed decision, we will do our best to get vaccinators out into the community and increase the number of access points.”