Posted: 08.01.21 at 08:31 by Tim Lethaby
The Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has confirmed that both the newly-approved Oxford/AstraZeneca and the original Pfizer Biotech coronavirus vaccines will be given in Somerset, as vaccinations continue at West Mendip Hospital in Glastonbury.
The group confirmed the information as it released details of a new hospital vaccination hub, that will begin operating seven days a week from this weekend at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.
Vaccinations are now being offered at 12 sites across the county – at ten GP-led community sites including Glastonbury and at hospital hubs at both Musgrove Park Hospital and at Yeovil District Hospital – and teams of vaccinators are also vaccinating care home residents.
Dr Alex Murray, clinical director for the CCG, said: “We welcome the MHRA approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine last week as it will help us to increase the number of people we can invite for vaccinations from the priority groups that the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has identified.
"However, local people can be confident that both vaccines are very effective and have been approved because they pass the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency’s (MHRA) tests on safety and efficacy.
"People should be assured that whatever vaccine they get will be highly effective and protect them from coronavirus.”
The Somerset programme is offering vaccinations to people in the high priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation – care home residents and their carers, those aged 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers.
Andy Heron, joint senior responsible officer for the Somerset Covid-19 vaccination programme, said: “This is very good news.
"The vaccination programme in Somerset has ramped up very quickly and will continue to do so to ensure that we protect as many people whom the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has identified as a priority to receive the vaccine as possible.
"Teams of clinicians, managers, administrators and volunteers from the NHS in Somerset, Somerset County Council and the voluntary sector are all working together to make this happen as quickly as possible.”
This weekend the vaccinations begin at Musgrove Park Hospital which will operate a vaccination hub seven days a week from next week.
Kate Allen, general outpatients’ sister for Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We’re looking forward to playing our part in the largest vaccination programme that the NHS has ever undertaken.
"The addition of a second hospital hub in Somerset means that we can protect more people who are in the most at-risk groups against Covid-19.
“Our colleagues have been working incredibly hard to get the hub up and running and we look forward to seeing those who have had their invitation for a vaccine over the coming weeks.”
People are reminded that they will be contacted by the NHS directly to arrange a vaccination appointment.
Dr Murray said: “We would also like to thank everyone who is patiently waiting to be invited for a vaccination appointment, as we work through our patient lists in priority order as set out by the JCVI.
"Please don’t contact us or visit any of our sites to ask about your vaccination. The NHS will contact you as soon as it is your turn to be invited.”