Urgent 13th December 21 Vaccine Programme Update
From Dr Gareth Bryant Acting CEO...
I’m sure you are all aware of the PM’s announcement on Sunday evening and the huge ask of the NHS to offer all adults a booster vaccination before the end of the month.
There remains much that is unknown about the Omicron variant, but it is much more transmissible, and we are likely to see a much greater number of cases than previous waves. Cases are doubling every 2-3 days. Even if a small percentage of patients require hospital admission – a small percentage of a very large number is a very large number. Patients are now being admitted with Omicron. The system is gearing up for the expected peak in the second week of January.
Three vaccines is key to adequate immunity. The hope is that by maximising boosters as soon as possible we will be able to reduce the number of infections and subsequent hospital admissions and deaths.
Two letters were published yesterday evening that give a clear message that the NHS needs to move to urgent and emergency care only and focus on the vaccination campaign for the next three weeks. They are attached for your information.
Further information is expected soon but the letters make it clear that CQC visits will be suspended including the proposed access visits associated with the Winter Access Fund, and that funding and staff across the system will be released to try to achieve the target.
We are waiting for imminent clarity on the suspension of the 15-minute observation period to allow much greater throughput at vaccination sites.
We will be working closely with NHSE, our CCGs and PCN CDs on behalf of our membership and will send regular updates as the position becomes clearer.
This is a daunting request to an already hugely stretched workforce and we will do all we can to ensure that practices and PCNs get as much support as possible.