15 Dec 2020

The local vaccination service run by local GPs and their teams will open in St Helens tomorrow (Wednesday 16 December), as the rollout of the biggest vaccination programme in NHS history gains further momentum.

GP practices in St Helens have come together and are taking delivery of the vaccine today, beginning the mass vaccination clinics on Wednesday 16 December. The first people to receive their Covid-19 vaccinations in St Helens will be people registered with a local GP practice who are over 80.

The NHS will contact people in the priority groups when it is their turn to receive the vaccine.

Dr Hilary Flett, local GP and clinical lead for the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in St Helens said:

 “This is the greatest vaccination programme ever undertaken by the NHS and, to help vaccinate people safely, all our GP practices are working together to deliver the vaccine in a single community site

“As a GP I am proud to be part of this huge national effort to protect our patients against the virus and I would urge the public to come forward when they are called up for the vaccine.” 

The community sites build on the work of the scores of hospital hubs which have already started vaccinating, with 90-year old Margaret Keenan receiving her first dose to become a global trailblazer in Coventry last Tuesday.

The latest phase of the vaccine roll-out is being co-ordinated by GP-led primary care networks with more practices and community pharmacies in other parts of England joining on a phased basis during December and in the coming months.  

Professor Martin Marshall, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

“GPs and our teams are about to embark on an enormous challenge, delivering the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the community whilst also delivering the expanded flu vaccine programme and the usual care and services our patients rely on us for.

“There are also logistical challenges but general practice has an excellent track record of delivering mass vaccination programmes, and we want to use this experience to help protect people from Covid-19 and start getting life back to normal again. We won’t be vaccinating everyone all at once - it will be a relatively small number at first - but as long as there is supply, GPs and our teams at selected sites will start vaccinating people this week, starting with our most vulnerable patients.

“Patients will be contacted and invited for vaccination - we would urge them not to contact their practice enquiring about vaccination, we will contact them."