The Somerset Guardian, 13th January 2021

This week, the Government reached a major milestone with more than 2.3 million residents in the United Kingdom (UK) having been vaccinated. The programme is the biggest in NHS history and is off to a strong start with more people here having been immunised compared to anywhere else in Europe.

The rollout of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, less than a week after it was authorised by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority, is another world first and a significant achievement in the phased vaccination schedule. The recently published Covid-19 Vaccine Delivery Plan, which sets out how the vaccine programme will be expanded, is the culmination of months of hard work undertaken by the Vaccine Taskforce, the NHS, Public Health England, research institutions, the Armed Forces and local/regional government.

The rollout of the Oxford vaccine has also begun to ensure that care homes and other vulnerable individuals are protected against the virus. Seven Vaccination Centres, including one for North East Somerset residents at Ashton Gate Stadium, are being established alongside hospitals and GP and pharmacy-led services being prepped to deliver the vaccine.

The Government has made a commitment to offer a vaccination to everyone in the top four priority groups by 15th February 2021, including older care home residents and staff, everyone over seventy and frontline NHS and care staff as well as those clinically vulnerable to coronavirus.

It is important to note that people expecting to receive an appointment letter are asked not to contact their local GP practice or hospital as they will be contacted by the NHS, which is allocating appointments based on the number of available vaccines. All those eligible for the first wave of inoculation will not be overlooked.

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