Thousands of people in Devon are being vaccinated against COVID-19 every day as the biggest vaccination programme in the NHS’s history gathers pace.
Vaccination is the way of out lockdown and the pandemic. An effective vaccine is the best way to protect people from coronavirus.
The NHS has a clear vaccine delivery plan and will contact local people when it’s their turn to get the vaccine.
This will be a marathon, not a sprint, and we cannot let down our guard. People must stay at home where they can and follow all the rules to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Anyone who has had the vaccine must continue to follow government guidance on social distancing and wearing a mask, as immunity takes weeks to develop.
Both the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines have been through rigorous tests and approval processes to prove they are safe and effective. Therefore, patients will not have a choice about the vaccine they receive when they are called for an appointment.
Three main ways the vaccine is being delivered in Devon
- All four of the county’s main hospitals – in Plymouth, Exeter, Torquay and Barnstaple – are giving the vaccination to priority groups in line with national guidance.
- GP practices are working together in groups to set up local vaccination centres. Across the county, 16 centres are now in operation, serving 104 of Devon’s 123 practices, with more starting in coming days to cover the remaining parts of the county.
- GP-led facilities are delivering the vaccine to residents and staff in care homes
Large-scale vaccination centres serving wide areas are also planned nationwide and more details will follow on arrangements in Devon when they are confirmed.
Vaccinations in care homes
Care home residents and staff were set as the highest priority group by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, the Oxford vaccine does not need to be stored at ultra-low temperatures and is much easier to move, making it easier to use in care homes. Local vaccination services are being issued with small packs of Pfizer jabs which can be used in care homes.
GP-led and hospital vaccination services have made good progress in vaccinating staff and residents in care homes in Devon and the focus will now be on offering the vaccine to everyone in care homes as soon as possible.
Derriford Hospital in Plymouth, Torbay Hospital in Torquay, the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital and North Devon District Hospital in Barnstaple are all giving vaccinations to priority groups.
GP-led local vaccination centres
GP practices are working together to set up local vaccination centres across Devon, with 16 now established, serving 104 practices, with more to follow soon.
As well as using NHS locations like GP surgeries and health centres, some local vaccination centres in Devon are being opened in more unusual, specially adapted, venues like Exmouth Tennis and Fitness Centre, Plymouth Pavilions, the Riviera International Centre in Torquay and Barnstaple Leisure Centre.
To minimise wastage, local vaccination sites are using unfilled appointments to vaccinate frontline healthcare workers, including pharmacy, dental and optometry teams.
NHS England has written to all practices this week asking them to prioritise the vaccination programme and they have set out some measures to support them to do that.
A full list of the sites and the practices they serve, correct as of 6 January, is available below.
COVID-19 vaccinations are currently being delivered across Devon in phases according to priority groups identified nationally by the independent Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The priorities are not set by the local NHS.
The UK’s four Chief Medical Officers agreed with JCVI advice that the priority should be to deliver first vaccine doses to as many people on the JCVI phase 1 priority list in the shortest possible timeframe. This updated guidance on the timing of second doses will potentially save thousands of lives.
Appointments for second doses in Devon will be rearranged in accordance with the guidance.
The NHS in Devon is finalising plans to ensure health and social care staff have access to vaccinations as soon as possible, with vulnerable staff within these groups prioritised.
Vaccine supplies in Devon are good. The rollout of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine in Devon began 8 January. It is easier to transport and store, will allow the NHS to increase the pace of vaccination to meet the Government’s target.
Current and former NHS staff are becoming vaccinators, with tens of thousands having already completed their online training nationwide. They will be deployed as more vaccine supplies become available.
Who will get the vaccine?
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have has published updated advice on the priority groups to receive COVID-19 vaccine.
The JCVI will continue to update this advice as more information becomes available on vaccine effectiveness, safety and clinical characteristics. This will in turn be reflected in the NHS’s plans.
How will vaccine services be staffed?
Vaccinating millions of people as quickly as possible requires lots of staff, and depending on when vaccines arrive this could be at the same time as both a second peak in Covid-19 hospitalisations, and usual winter pressures.
While it is crucial for the safety and confidence of those who will be eligible that staff giving vaccinations are appropriately trained, the vaccination programme should not have a negative effect on other important NHS services.
The NHS is therefore working with local employers as well as national partners to recruit as many trained and experienced vaccinators as possible.
This includes those working in primary care, and we have recently set out details of a new contractual agreement for GP and their teams through which they can support this programme.
Experienced vaccinators working for NHS trusts and other employers will also be among the first asked to help deliver the vaccine.
More vaccinators will be needed in the longer term.
That’s why the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) recently consulted on temporary changes to legislation allowing a wider group of clinical staff, including physiotherapists and paramedics, to become vaccinators.
Public Health England (PHE) and Health Education England will also be developing training courses, including supervision from experienced staff, to upskill those groups.
Locally, the NHS is looking at recruiting from the pool of former staff who signed up to help the NHS during the first wave, bank staff and third sector partners, led by St John Ambulance, who will also help recruit the important non-clinical support roles we will need to ensure clinics run safely and smoothly.
People with experience of vaccinating others, or are willing to be trained, are being invited to help the local NHS deliver the coronavirus vaccine.
Staff are encouraged to share the message with friends, family and neighbours who may be able to support.
This includes people who are not currently actively working in health and social care, retired, on a career break, or work in the private sector, are being encouraged to come forward.
How will people know if they’re eligible for a vaccine and how to get it?
Public-facing communications will be led by DHSC, working with the NHS, PHE and other Government departments.
As is currently the case with flu and other vaccination campaigns, local organisations and their partners will also play an important part in amplifying these messages in their particular local communities.
Also in common with this year’s flu campaign, the NHS nationally has commissioned NHS Digital and NHSX to provide a national system which will send invitations and reminders to eligible people at the right time, as well as to provide an online and telephone booking system so that people can choose the right time and location for them to attend.
How will staff get the vaccine?
The NHS is working with employers and staff representatives to establish the best way to ensure that both health and social care staff can get vaccinated as soon as possible.
As is currently the case with the seasonal flu staff vaccination campaign, this is likely to be mainly led by individual employers, with additional arrangements in place for social care staff such as home carers.
I’ve already had my first jab, how do I get my second?
If you have had your first jab already through a hospital or GP services, the local NHS will contact you about getting your second.
If you have received a letter from the national booking service and you have already had your first dose of the vaccination, please ignore the letter. This service will require you to book appointments for both doses of the vaccination at the same time.
What are the different ways members of the public might be contacted to get their vaccination?
- Local hospital services – you might be contacted either to have the vaccine as an inpatient or at an outpatient appointment.
- Local GP services – practices in your area are working together to contact and offer the vaccine to as many people as possible. This may be at a different surgery than you usually go to, or at a venue we have set up specially to deliver vaccines.
- Through your care home – GPs and their teams are also arranging to vaccinate care home residents directly, in their homes.
- 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 special Vaccination Centre, or potentially a community pharmacy depending on whether these are available locally.
Where are the vaccination sites in Devon?
All four of the county’s main hospitals are giving the vaccination to priority groups.
|Name of site||Serving patients from|
|North Devon District Hospital||Northern Devon|
|Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital||Eastern Devon|
|Torbay Hospital||Southern Devon and Torbay|
|Derriford Hospital (Plymouth)||Plymouth and western Devon|
As of 6 January 2021, the full list of 16 GP-led sites, and the practices they service, is below.
GP-led facilities are delivering the vaccine to residents and staff in care homes.
|Name of site||Serving patients from these GP practices|
|Abbey Surgery, Tavistock||Abbey Surgery
Tavyside Health Centre
|Exmouth Tennis and Fitness Centre
|Coleridge Medical Centre
Sid Valley Practice
Budleigh Salterton Medical Practice
Claremont Medical Practice
Haldon House Surgery
Rolle Medical Partnership
|Limes Surgery, Exminster||Cranbrook Medical Centre
Ide Lane Surgery
Pinhoe & Broadclyst Medical Centre
|Okehampton Medical Centre||Chagford Health Centre
Moretonhampstead Health Centre
Okehampton Medical Centre
Black Torrington Surgery
|Riviera International Centre, Torquay||Croft Hall Medical Practice
Chelston Hall Surgery
Brunel Medical Practice
Southover Medical Practice
Pembroke Medical Group
Corner Place Surgery
Old Farm Surgery
Mayfield Medical Centres
Compass House Medical Centres
|St Boniface House, near Buckfastleigh||Leaside Surgery, Totnes
Catherine House Surgery, Totnes
Buckfastleigh Medical Centre
South Brent Medical Centre
Redfern Medical Centre, Salcombe.
Chillington Health Centre
Modbury Health Centre
Norton Brook Surgery, Kingsbridge
Dartmouth Medical Practice, Dartmouth
|Seaton Community Hospital||Axminster Medical Practice
Seaton & Colyton Medical Practice
Townsend Hose Medical Centre
|The Staddy function centre, Plymouth||Church View Surgery
Dean Cross Surgery
Yealm Medical Centre
|Beacon, Plympton||Beacon Medical Group|
|Clare House, Tiverton||Amicus Health|
|Dawlish Community Hospital||Channel View Medical Practice
Teign Estuary Medical Group
Dawlish Medical Group (known as Barton Surgery)
|Holsworthy Medical Centre||Bradworthy Surgery
Ruby Country Medical Group
|St Leonard’s Practice, Exeter||Barnfield Hill Surgery
Southernhay House Surgery
St Leonard’s Practice
Wonford Green Surgery
|Plymouth Pavilions||Devonport Health Centre
St Levan Surgery
West Hoe Surgery
Peverell Park Surgery and University Medical Centre
St Neots Surgery
North Road West Medical Centre
Knowle House Surgery
Lisson Grove and Woolwell Medical Centre
Budshead Medical Practice
Friary House Surgery
Beaumont Villa Surgery
|Barnstaple Leisure Centre||Castle Gardens Surgery
Torrington Health Centre
Bideford Medical Centre
Brannams Medical Centre
Fremington Medical Centre
Litchdon Medical Centre
Queens Medical Centre
South Molton Medical Centre
Caen Medical Centre
|Mount Pleasant Health Centre||Mount Pleasant