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Welcome to the sixth issue of the update on Covid information.
BLMK
Bedford Borough
Central Bedfordshire
Luton
Milton Keynes

What's Next?

 
Explaining your Covid vaccination

We are currently working our way through everyone that the Government has identified as a priority for vaccination. These include:
  • Residents in care homes for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults;
  • All those who are over the age of 80 and front line health and social care workers;
  • All those who are 75 and over
  • All those who are 70 and over
The Government has asked the NHS to ensure that people who are in these top four priorities are vaccinated by the middle of February.
 
To achieve this, a number of different centres have been set up to offer as much choice and capacity in the system to enable people to be vaccinated quickly. These include:
  • Hospital hubs – The hospital hubs initially were asked to vaccinate residents over 80 and NHS staff. More recently, the Hubs are vaccinating just NHS staff and health and social care workers, so that residents do not have to travel to hospital and can receive their vaccination closer to home.
  • Primary Care Networks – These are groups of family led doctors, who are working together to make sure that they can keep business as usual primary care services open and undertake the largest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS. They have been focussing on vaccinating over 80 year olds, but in some cases, they have also been able to vaccinate vulnerable people who are over 70.
  • Mass vaccination centres – there are two mass vaccination centres currently open in the East of England. The centre in Stevenage and Redgrave Children’s Centre in Luton. These clinics are open for residents in the first four priority groups and they can book an appointment using the national booking line, which is 119 free of charge, by visiting the national website www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. We are opening more of these centres all the time and on 1 February, we will open a centre at Bedford Heights in Bedford. This will be followed by further centres in Central Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes and Luton.
There are many different ways that residents might be invited for an appointment. We know that this is confusing for people, but this is designed to give people the choice of centre they want to attend. As a result, residents might:
  1. Be invited to attend a centre by their GP. Our surgeries are currently calling and texting residents to invite them to receive their vaccination;
  2. Receive a national letter from the NHS which invites them to make an appointment at one of our mass vaccination sites. The letter would signpost residents to 119 or the national online booking line.
In the case of residents who are housebound, their GP surgery will either:
  • Contact them to ask if they can call around to their house to give them the vaccination;
  • Or engage with their domiciliary carers to ask them to arrange an appointment for the GP to call and administer the vaccination.
How housebound patients will be invited depends on GP discretion and how clinically vulnerable they are considered to be.
 
We are working hard at the moment to contact as many of our residents as possible to invite them for a vaccination, but we know many of them are worried, especially those who are older and have not yet received notification of an appointment.
 
We are asking our residents to bear with us, as we are working as hard and fast as possible to get everyone vaccinated. Although it seems inequitable that some younger people have been vaccinated before those who are in the older age groups, this is being managed clinically by our GPs, based on assessment of vulnerability, which is not always associated with age.
 
We ask for the support of our elected members and local authority colleagues to help us to provide assurances locally that we will not forget anyone. If residents are concerned however that they have been missed, they can contact NHS 119 and book an appointment at the mass vaccination clinic, which is closest to them.
 
Regular national letters will continue to be sent to residents over 70 who have not yet been vaccinated to invite them for an appointment at a mass vaccination centre each time a new centre opens. As soon as residents book their appointment, whether with the GP or at a local clinic, they will be removed from the list and no longer receive the national letters. If residents choose to wait for their GP to invite them for their vaccination, then they can ignore the letters and wait to be contacted.
 
We appreciate that this is a worrying and confusing time for residents and so we welcome the support of our elected members and local stakeholders in helping to provide reassurance and clarity for our communities.  
Vaccine messaging by our GPs

We recognise the importance of reaching all areas of our local communities about the importance of getting the coronavirus vaccination when called.

Last week we promised to bring you further messaging to be shared with your communities. The videos are hosted on our YouTube channel and we encourage you to share across your various social media and websites.

These are the first four, we will bring you more next week.

Dr Linus Onah’s message in English
 
Dr Sajid Mehmood’s message in Urdu
 
Dr Floriana Ellis’ message in Romanian

Kasia Wolska’s message in Polish

National Vaccine Letter


We are aware that confusion was caused by the first letter that was sent out by the national booking team. This was fed back to them by many areas over the country. 

We have now been given sight of the letter which is going out to residents in Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes and have reproduced it below for your information
 

Dear XXX

You are able to book your free NHS coronavirus vaccine now.
We have sent you this letter as experts recommend that people in your age group are among the first to get the vaccine. This is because evidence shows that risk of serious illness because of coronavirus increases with age.

How to book your appointments
To book your vaccination, visit: www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination
You can ask someone else to do this for you if you prefer. When you book, you will need:
  • your name and date of birth
  • your NHS number, which is at the top of this letter.
Please ensure that you book your appointments for both your first and second dose and press the save button to confirm.
Please try the NHS website first. If you cannot use the NHS website, phone 119 free of charge. The phone line is open into the evening and you may choose to ring later in the afternoon or early evening when it is less busy.  

You should book as soon as possible. If you've had your first vaccine dose already, ignore this letter, the NHS will contact you when it's time for your second dose.
 
Choice of Location
You can choose to wait until your local GP services contact you if they haven’t already. If you would rather do that, you don’t need to do anything now or call your GP services – please wait for them to contact you.  More locations will also become available through the NHS website or by ringing 119 so you could also try again later.

If you are unable to leave the house to travel to where you are offered an appointment and cannot arrange for someone to help you, your local NHS services will be in contact with you.
If you receive this letter and already have an appointment booked to have your vaccine at a local GP service please ignore this letter. There is nothing you need to do except turn up at your scheduled GP appointment.

About the coronavirus vaccine
You need 2 doses of the vaccine to get the best protection from the virus. Your second dose will be given up to 12 weeks after your first.

When you book your first appointment through the NHS website or by phoning 119, you will also need to book your second appointment.

For more information, read the leaflet that came with this letter, or visit
www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination

Some people may not be able to get this vaccine at the moment. If you have had bad allergic reactions in the past, it is important that you read all the guidance. You can also ask about it when you book, or discuss it with a health professional when you attend your appointment.

The place that you choose to have your vaccine will keep you safe from COVID-19 through a range of measures including cleaning and disinfecting and having social distancing in waiting areas. Please also wear a face covering to your appointment.

Remember, the vaccine is only available from the NHS and is free of charge. The NHS will never ask you for details about your bank account or to pay for the vaccine.

Vaccination numbers


NHS England has started publishing vaccination statistics on a weekly basis. These show the cumulative number of vaccinations carried out in a region.

The figures were published today 28 January and show that for Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes the numbers were - 

First Dose Vaccinations -     Under 80 - 58,219
                                             Over 80 - 31,580

Over 79.5% of all 80+ population have received their first vaccination

Second Dose Vaccinations - Under 80 - 655
                                              Over 80 - 4,100

10.3% of all 80+ population have received their second vaccination

At this stage, figures are not published for individual areas within a region.

Good News!


For the first time infections are down in every area across our region. This is fantastic news, but we still mustn't relax.

Please remind everyone, even if they have had their vaccine, to constantly observe Hands, Face, Space and stay at home unless they have to make an essential journey.

Covid Statistics for Bedford Borough

The following figures cover the 7 days up to 21 January 2021

Total positive cases - 999 decreased by 18%
Vaccination Rollout in Bedford

The next large vaccination centre opens in Bedford next week. Bedford Heights will be operating as a vaccination centre from Monday 1 February for health and social care staff, and Tuesday 2 February for members of the public.

As with other large vaccination centres, people who fit the criteria set out by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation will receive a letter inviting them to make an appointment either by calling a national line or via a weblink.

At this stage, people aged over 75 are now within this criteria. It is important to make clear that if they prefer to attend a centre that is more local, they don't need to do anything they will be contacted by their GP when appointments are available. They do not need to contact their GP.

Covid Statistics for Central Bedfordshire

The following figures cover the 7 days up to 21 January 2021

Total positive cases - 1083 decreased by 17%
Vaccination Rollout in Central Bedfordshire

Priory House at Chicksands will be operating as a vaccination centre from 4 February. 

As with other large vaccination centres, people who fit the criteria set out by the Joint Committee for Vaccination and Immunisation will receive a letter inviting them to make an appointment either by calling a national line or via a weblink.

At this stage, people aged over 75 are now within this criteria. It is important to make clear that if they prefer to attend a centre that is more local, they don't need to do anything they will be contacted by their GP when appointments are available. They do not need to contact their GP.

Covid Statistics for Luton

The following figures cover the 7 days up to 21 January 2021

Total positive cases - 1405 decreased by 9%
Vaccination Rollout in Luton

Luton residents aged 75 and over are amongst those being invited to book a coronavirus vaccination at Redgrave Children and Young People’s Centre from Tuesday 26 January. 
 
If someone cannot or does not want to travel to a vaccination centre, they can still wait to have their vaccination at a local GP service or hospital hub.
 
People should only attend for a vaccination at Redgrave Centre if they have received a letter inviting them to book a vaccination and have already booked an appointment. Anyone attending for a vaccine appointment at Redgrave is asked to arrive just before the time of their appointment to avoid the need to wait to be seen and to help us maintain social distancing at the vaccination centre.
  
Health and social care staff working nearby will also be able to receive their vaccination at Redgrave Centre
 
The vaccination centre at Redgrave Children & Young People Centre is being run by Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust (HCT) working with Bedfordshire Luton and Milton Keynes (BLMK) partners, drawing on its proven track record of delivering local immunisation programmes in the East of England.  The BLMK and HCT team has set the centre up with the support of Luton Borough Council, the Bedfordshire & Luton Local Resilience Forum and local volunteers. 

Covid Statistics for Milton Keynes

The following figures cover the 7 days up to 21 January 2021

Total positive cases - 1343 decreased by 19%
How do I know where my nearest Vaccination Centre is?

We have a list of all of the centres in the region that are up and running, subject to supply. Some of these are operating full time, and some on a part-time basis as GPs carry out their usual work as well.

People can only attend at one of these centres if they have been contacted by their GP or the NHS and invited to make an appointment. None of these are walk-in centres and people attending without an appointment will be turned away.

We understand that people want to know how many there are and where they are so we have uploaded the list to the website and will update it as more large vaccination centres open.


COVID-19 - BLMK CCG website Vaccination Centres
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