Skip to main content
Last updated: 25 February 2021

The vaccination programme in Somerset is moving at pace and we have now offered the vaccine to those in the top 4 priority groups. If you are aged 70 and over and have not yet had your vaccination, you can still book an appointment through the National Booking Service.

Our health and care teams are continuing to work exceptionally hard to roll out our local vaccination programme in Somerset to priority groups. People will be contacted to attend their vaccination through a number of ways: a letter from the NHS, inviting you to book through the national booking service, or a phone call, text or letter from your local GP-led service.

Where in Somerset are vaccinations being delivered?

The programme in Somerset is rolling out rapidly with a number of sites and locations vaccinating residents, including:

  • hospital hubs
  • GP-led community sites
  • large vaccination centres located at Taunton Racecourse and the Bath and West Showground
  • Pharmacy- led sites located in Taunton, Bruton and Morrisons in Yeovil

Hospitals

There two hospital hubs in Somerset delivering the vaccine:

Community GP-led sites and care homes

Our GP-led sites are being organised by primary care networks (PCNs), which are groups of local GP practices in an area working together to deliver this vaccination programme in community locations. 

We now have all 13 PCNs (which cover the whole of Somerset) vaccinating patients. They are currently focussing on those who are over 80; frontline health and social care workers as well as care home residents and carers. 

  • Taunton Vale Healthcare, Taunton 
  • The Mulberry Centre, Berrow  
  • West Mendip Community Hospital, Glastonbury 
  • The Gateway Centre, Yeovil
  • Frome Medical Practice, Frome 
  • Minehead Community Hospital, Minehead 
  • Henhayes Community Centre, Crewkerne  
  • North Petherton Rugby Club, North Petherton 
  • Shape Centre Mendip District Council Offices, Shepton Mallet
  • Dillington House, Ilminster (part of the CLICK Primary Care Network) 
  • Wincanton Community Hospital, Wincanton 
  • College Way Surgery, Taunton 
  • Wellington Community Hospital, Wellington 

This is a complex programme; delivering the vaccines to GP practices across Somerset. Everyone is working hard behind the scenes to ensure they are ready to vaccinate when the time comes. 

Large vaccination sites and pharmacy-led sites

Somerset now has two large vaccination centres, which will be open from 8am – 8pm 7 days a week to ensure we are able to vaccinate as many people as possible across the county. Vaccination appointments will be offered in line with demand.

The large vaccination centres are located at: 

  • Taunton Racecourse
  • Bath and West Showground, Shepton Mallet

Our Pharmacy-led sites are located at:

  • Morrisons car park, Lysander Road, Yeovil
  • Bruton Pharmacy, Bruton Community Hall, Bruton
  • Boots Pharmacy, High Street, Taunton

The centres will be staffed by vaccinators and clinical supervisors, as well as administrators, staff and stewards to ensure that the centre runs smoothly for those attending. 

Latest news and updates:

You can read the latest news on the vaccination programme on our news pages here: Somerset CCG news pages 

I have a question about the programme – who can answer this?

We have developed a series of FAQs covering the main areas of interest. Please have a read through these to see if your question is answered.

This page is frequently updated and amended alongside any changes in national guidance. Please do keep checking this page for updates.

Frequently Asked Questions

What vaccine for Covid-19 is currently available?

Currently both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are available (although a third, the Moderna vaccine has also recently been approved).  They both offer high levels of protection and have been shown to be safe.   

Vaccines are approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) who regulate medicines, medical devices and blood components for transfusion in the UK.

How do you know the Covid-19 vaccine is safe?

The vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). 

Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety. 

Further reading: 

Worried about pregnancy and the vaccine?

You probably have loads of questions around the Covid-19 vaccine, including: 

  • if the vaccine is safe for pregnant women
  • if the vaccine is safe if you are breastfeeding 
  • if the vaccine is safe if you are of childbearing age 
  • does the vaccine contain animal products 
  • how effective is the vaccine 
  • the side effects of the vaccine 

Rather than us answer them here, it’s easier for you to check out the following websites. These are constantly reviewed and updated with the most relevant and up to date information:

Can I choose which vaccination I have?

You cannot choose which Covid-19 vaccine you receive. Both the Pfizer and the AstraZeneca vaccines have been tested extensively in thousands of people. The are both highly effective in providing protection against coronavirus. You can read more about the vaccines and their safety in our other FAQs

Who will receive the vaccine – what is meant by priority groups? 

The NHS is currently in the process of offering the vaccine to people in the priority groups.

When everyone in these groups has had the chance to get their first dose of the vaccine the programme will expand to other people that are at risk either due to their age group or medical condition in line with the advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) which provides guidance on advice on the priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccination.  

This guidance was updated on 30 December 2020. 

The JCVI advises that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the maintenance of the health and social care systems. As the risk of mortality from COVID-19 increases with age, prioritisation is primarily based on age.  

We are working our way through the priority patients to ensure the most vulnerable in our society receive the vaccine first. 

  1. residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  2. all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  3. all those 75 years of age and over
  4. all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals 
  5. all those 65 years of age and over
  6. all individuals aged 16 years  to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  7. all those 60 years of age and over
  8. all those 55 years of age and over
  9. all those 50 years of age and over. 

Further reading: 

Why do I have to wait for my Covid-19 vaccination? 

So how do I book my vaccination?

There are a number of ways in which you might be offered to attend your vaccination – we are encouraging those who have received a letter inviting them to book through the national booking service to use this route and book their appointment.

There are now a number of different ways members of the public might be contacted to get their vaccination. This includes: 

  1. Local hospital services – you might be contacted either to have the vaccine as an inpatient or at an outpatient appointment.
  2. Local GP-led services – we have 13 PCN areas in Somerset working together to vaccinate as many people as possible in the priority groups. This may mean you attend a different location than you usually go to for your vaccination.
  3. A letter from the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service to book online or by phone. Booking through this service will give you the option of having the vaccine at a large Vaccination Centre like Taunton Racecourse or a pharmacy-led location like Bruton.
  4. Through your care home – GPs and their teams are also arranging to vaccinate care home residents directly, in their homes. We are working closely with care and public sector colleagues across Somerset to prioritise this area.

Can’t attend a large vaccination centre?

People who are eligible and who live within 45 minutes of a large vaccination centre may receive a letter from the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service inviting them to book an appointment.

The letter provides everything you need to book these appointments. The link to booking online is here, but you will need your letter to use this system.

While we encourage everyone to get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity – if you cannot travel to you can choose to wait for an invitation from your local GP-Led clinic.

I want to wait to attend my GP-led clinic – who do I tell?

No one – you do not need to contact your GP to let them know you are not booking an appointment through the national vaccination service, but we would strongly encourage those who have been invited to book through the national booking system and are able to travel, to attend one of the large or pharmacy-led sites available.

What do I do if I can’t attend a large vaccination centre?

People who are eligible and who live within 45 minutes of a large vaccination centre may receive a letter from the NHS Covid-19 Vaccination Booking Service inviting them to book an appointment. 

The letter provides everything you need to book these appointments. The link to booking online is here, but you will need your letter to use this system. 

While we encourage everyone to get vaccinated at the earliest opportunity – if you cannot travel to or do not want to go to a large vaccination centre you CAN CHOOSE to WAIT and get your vaccination at your local GP-led community hub. 

I want to attend my GP-led clinic – who do I tell?

You do not need to contact you GP to let them know you are not booking an appointment through the national vaccination service. You will be picked up by your GP when they are calling your priority group. 

Why is my local GP practice not providing the vaccination?

Our GP practices are working together as Primary Care Networks. We have 13 in Somerset. Currently all vaccines are being delivered from local vaccination centres, within each primary care network.

At the moment no GP practices have been able to vaccinate within their own practice unless they have been designated as the ‘local vaccination centre’ for their PCN. We are currently working through guidance that we hope will make this possible in the near future.

The programme is evolving all the time, this may change, but we urge those who have been invited attend an appointment to go where possible.

I am a health and care worker – who do I need to speak to?

We recognise the importance of providing protection to all health and social care workers across the county who are at increased, personal risk of exposure to infection.

Health and care workers can now book their vaccination appointments through the National Booking Service. This will allow you to attend one of the large vaccination or pharmacy-led centres listed.

You should be told what you need to take with you when you attend your vaccination, please remember to take your identity card or proof of your employer with you when you attend.

I’m under 65 and have been offered a Covid-19 vaccination by my local GP-led vaccination hub – is this right?

Our GP-led primary care network hubs are now inviting those in priority group six to come forward for vaccination at a GP-led hub. People in this group will be aged between 16 and 64 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality.

Our GP teams are working through their lists of patients to identify those in this group and invite them to book an appointment as quickly as they can.

If you receive an invitation for vaccination from your local GP-led hub, we encourage you to take up the offer.

I am an unpaid carer. When will I be offered a Covid-19 vaccination?

We are currently inviting people in priority group six to come forward for vaccination at a GP-led hub. Priority group six includes those carers who are:

We are currently inviting people in priority group six to come forward for vaccination at a GP-led hub. Priority group six includes those carers who are:

  • Eligible for a carer’s allowance and/or
  • The sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of Covid-19 mortality and, therefore, clinically vulnerable.

Therefore, if you receive carer’s allowance and/or are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who fits the JCVI guidelines below, you should receive an invitation for a Covid-19 vaccination. Our GP teams are working through their lists of patients to identify those in this group and invite them to book an appointment as quickly as they can.

JCVI guidelines for those who are identified as clinically vulnerable for the purposes of priority group 6:

  • children with severe neurodisabilities
  • those who are designated as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable
  • those who need care because of advanced age

adults who have underlying health conditions (such as diabetes, serious mental illness or chronic heart disease). Table 3 in the Green Book gives more information on the identified underlying health conditions and can be viewed here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/961287/Greenbook_chapter_14a_v7_12Feb2021.pdf

When will I get my second dose? 

This depends on how and where you were vaccinated for your first dose. You will always be advised to attend the same place you got vaccinated for your second appointment.

  • I had my first vaccination done through a GP-led clinic – if you were vaccinated through a GP-led clinic then you will be contacted to book in your second dose, when the time is right. This should be around 10 weeks after your 1st dose given. You do not need to do anything other than wait for a call to book in your second dose
  • I had my first vaccination done through the National Booking Service – you may have already booked your second dose in when you booked your first. If you did not do this, you should be able to book your second dose through the same route. You will be directed to attend the same vaccination centre or pharmacy-led clinic you attended for your first vaccination.
  • I am a health and care worker – Health and care workers will be contacted with a date for their second dose appointment through the vaccination centre they attended for their first dose. You need to ensure you attend the same place you did initially.

I am not registered with a local GP – how will I get my vaccine? 

Everyone is encouraged to register with a GP; this is the best way to access NHS care. If you are temporarily staying in Somerset, for example with family members you can register as a temporary patient at a local GP surgery.

If you think that during the time you are registered you are likely to be invited for your vaccination that you discuss with the surgery whether it would be more appropriate to register as a permanent resident as you will need to receive your second dose of vaccine from the same site as you receive your first dose.

This gap between the first and second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine is currently twelve weeks.

You can re-register with your normal GP when you finally return home. Any treatment or details of any visits/vaccinations will be recorded and added to your medical records, which will be shared with your regular practice on your return. 

For more information registering as a temporary resident/permanent resident and support on finding a local GP please visit the NHS website for further information

Everyone is entitled to NHS care; this includes members of traveller communities. If you have any difficulties with registering with a GP surgery, please contact the Somerset CCG Patient Advice and Liaison team.

Other useful links include:

How to access NHS services in England if you are visiting from abroad – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

How to register with a GP surgery – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

NHS entitlements: migrant health guide – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

I am worried about how I will get to my appointment 

We know that many of you are anxiously waiting for that vaccination call. We understand it’s a worrying time.  

It’s never too early to get prepared. One important thing to think about in advance is how you will get to your appointment when the time comes. If you aren’t able to drive yourself, but you have a family member or friend who might be able to support you – it’s always worth having that conversation now. 

How many people in Somerset have been vaccinated so far? 

We are sharing our vaccination figures for Somerset each week. This information is available on our social media pages as well as this website. You can also view the national dataset here: https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/covid-19-vaccinations/ 

This dataset is updated every Thursday and provides regional and county level figures. 

I would like to volunteer to help the vaccination programme – how do I offer my support? 

It has been truly inspiring to see just how many people are wanting to provide their support for the COVID -19 vaccination programme. There are a number of ways in which you can get involved. 

  1. You can contact visit the Covid-19 vaccination programme pages on Somerset Foundation Trust’s website to find out what they are looking for and then email: mvp.recruitment@somersetft.nhs.uk  

OR 

  1. Visit the Spark Somerset website for information on ways to get involved including becoming a COVID Community Champion to volunteering to become a steward and help out at vaccination sites across the county.  

Many people are also getting in contact to provide buildings and venues as suitable locations for vaccination clinics. We really appreciate all of your support and offers of help. The vaccine needs to be carefully managed in controlled conditions – for a number of reasons. For the majority of cases this will mean that certain locations may not be suitable. We are still happy for you to get in touch with these offers – you can email somccg.enquiries@nhs.net

Covid-19 vaccine fraud – be aware!

We are aware that there are a number of criminals harnessing the vaccination programme and using it as a way to target member of the public and tricking them into handing over cash or financial details. 

There are a number of ways in which this is being done including: 

  • Convincing looking text messages 
  • Phoning people directly pretending to be from the NHS or from a local pharmacy

The NHS will never ask for the following: 

Please review this helpful information and share with friends and family who may not be alert to these scams.  

  • Payment – the vaccine is free 
  • Ask for your bank details 
  • Arrive unannounced at your home to administer the vaccines 
  • Ask you to prove your identity by sending copies of your personal documents, such as your passport.