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The latest national figures confirm that 20 million people across the country have now been offered the COVID jab. Locally, the NHS vaccination programme in Somerset has also reached a new milestone, with over 200,000 vaccinations given to people in the highest priority groups.

Health and care teams have continued to work extremely hard to offer vaccinations across 20 different locations in Somerset, with hundreds of GPs, nurses, vaccinators, administrators, marshals and volunteers joining together to invite and vaccinate as many eligible people, as quickly and safely as possible.

In Somerset, phenomenal vaccination efforts mean that over a third of the local adult population have now had their first COVID vaccination, with plans now in place to extend the roll out of the programme to invite people who are aged over 60 to come forward for their vaccination.

This week, local residents, from priority group seven (aged 60 plus), will start to receive letters from the NHS inviting them to book their vaccination appointments through the National Booking Service, online or by calling 119.  People are encouraged to book their slot, as soon they receive their invitation.

Many people in Somerset, aged 65 to 69 (priority group five) have had their vaccine, or have a booked appointment date. Anyone in this age group, who hasn’t had their vaccination, is now being urged to respond to their recent invite to get their life-saving jab. Bookings can be made at one of the large vaccination centres; Taunton Racecourse, or the Bath and West Show ground, or one of the pharmacy-led sites in Taunton, Bruton or Yeovil.

In addition, local GP-led community teams are continuing to work through patient lists to review and invite people who are eligible for a vaccination as part of priority group six, those aged 16-64 who have specific underlying health conditions – as described by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation  (JCVI).

Alison Wootton, joint senior responsible officer for the Somerset COVID vaccination programme said “We are so proud of everyone who has supported the vaccination programme roll out in Somerset. Vaccination teams are continuing to work round the clock to offer tens of thousands of vaccines every week, in line with vaccine deliveries.”

“We are making excellent progress across the county to offer vaccinations to those who need it the most. We’d really like to encourage everyone who has been contacted by the NHS, to book their vaccination appointment at one of our large vaccinations centres as soon as possible.

“We know that it can be an anxious time, waiting to hear when you will get your vaccine, but NHS teams are working very hard to identify people who are eligible and to invite them to an appointment. If you haven’t heard yet, please be assured we will contact you directly as soon as we possibly can – there’s no need to contact your GP surgery or local hospital.”

Vaccine appointments for people in eligible groups, can be made quickly and simply by visiting the national booking service online; www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.

Alison added “It’s really important that everyone attends their booked vaccination appointments as planned.  We are also asking people to please not call any of our vaccination sites, or come to them without an appointment.”

 “Please also remember to protect others by continuing to follow social distancing guidelines for hands, face and space even after you have had your vaccination.”

For more information on the NHS vaccination in Somerset please visit: https://www.somersetccg.nhs.uk/health/local-services/health-services-during-coronavirus/covid-19-vaccinations-in-somerset/

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccine please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/