As we all know, the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine is being prioritised to those over 80 years old, with the aim that all those over 70 will have been vaccinated by the spring.
I have been in contact with the Devon health authority and some of the larger GP practice groups to get an update on how this is shaping up and their methods for ensuring every patient over 80 is invited to receive the vaccine as soon as possible.
The first reassurance is that in the same way as the flu vaccine is distributed each year, GP practices will make contact with patients to invite them for their vaccine and have asked that individuals wait for this rather than chasing directly with their practice.
As I am sure you can imagine, not all vaccine sites are up and running yet which is why some GPs are already offering the vaccine and others are not. I have previously mentioned on here that in South West Devon, the Staddy Function Centre is part of the first wave of the mass vaccine rollout and the location for vaccines for those at GPs covering Plymstock and Wembury and the Yealm Medical Centre. Other practices, for example, some of the Beacon Group covering Plympton and Ivybridge, have been able to start vaccinating the most vulnerable, care home residents and healthcare and start to roll it out to the over 80s, but other practices are part of Primary Care Networks which are in subsequent waves of testing roll-out and so patients won't have been offered the vaccine yet.
Some have been asking why there are 80-somethings who have been vaccinated before some 90-somethings. This is not only down to which surgery you are registered with, it is also down to how each GP surgery is organising its invitations to patients. In some cases this may be alphabetical and in others based on geography rather than via date of birth - their aim is not to miss anyone.
The main message is that all those over 80 years old remain in the first priority group for the vaccine and should not be concerned if they have yet to received an invitation from their GP. And many will find they have been vaccinated by the end of this week. In fact, I know some practices are hopeful they will be able to deliver vaccinations 7 days a week before long.
A huge thank you to our General Practice teams across the constituency who are working their socks off to get the vaccine out as quickly as they can.
I hope this offers some reassurance.