Monthly Archives: March 2021

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Residents aged 50+ and other eligible groups urged to book their first COVID vaccination jab

Residents aged 50 years old or over, those in a recognised clinical ‘at risk’ group and all frontline health and social care workers in Buckinghamshire are being urged to come forward to arrange their COVID vaccination as soon as possible if they have not already done so.

Anyone eligible who may have initially chosen not to have the vaccine is also able to book an appointment if they have changed their mind.

Vaccine appointments can be arranged by booking online via the National Booking System, calling 119 or contacting your GP.

Everyone in the patient priority groups 1-9 – which also includes care home residents and staff – can now get a vaccine, whether they have been contacted by the NHS or not.

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organisation are all absolutely clear that the vaccines are safe and effective, and that people should go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so. A further trial in the USA this week has also reinforced this.

Pregnant women who work with others or have a medical condition that puts them at higher risk of complications if infected with COVID, should speak to a healthcare professional. The vaccine will not pass COVID on to mother or baby, and breastfeeding is safe after having a jab.

Although there have been reports that vaccine supply may dip in the coming weeks, local vaccination services are currently operating as normal. All booked vaccination appointments will be kept, unless you hear directly from the service team to rearrange. Appointments for second doses of the vaccine have begun in Buckinghamshire and more will be getting underway soon. This means it is really important that as many first doses as possible are given to remaining patients this month.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The vaccination rollout has gone extremely well, but we know there still a number of people in Buckinghamshire who are eligible for a vaccine but who have not yet had one. We really want to get these people their first dose vaccine as soon as possible, before we have to focus more on second doses for patients in April.

“I would also like to remind people that the vaccines we are using – both Oxford AstraZeneca and Pfizer – are very safe and have been rigorously tested. The benefits of the vaccine in preventing COVID-19, with its associated risk of hospitalisation and death, are very clear and we want as many of our patients protected as possible.”

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Pop-up COVID vaccination clinic comes to Jubilee Road Mosque in High Wycombe

The vaccination team at the Jubilee Road Mosque in High Wycombe

The Jubilee Road Mosque in High Wycombe was the venue for the latest ‘pop-up’ COVID-19 vaccination clinic over the weekend, as members of the community stopped by to get their jab.

The pop-up centre was operated by GPs on Sunday,14 March, with support from organisations including Wycombe Mosque, Wycombe Islamic Society (WISE), Karima, MEC and Jamia Rehmania.

Pop-up clinics aim to encourage greater uptake of vaccinations with the support of trusted local figures. They also offer a more convenient location to be vaccinated for many people, alongside the nine GP led vaccination sites across Bucks, one national vaccination site in Aylesbury, and eight pharmacy-led sites in the county.

Nationally, data has shown that vaccination uptake is lower amongst people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. With evidence showing that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people from BAME communities, it is vital for them to get their vaccinations when invited to do so.

Dr Sajid Zaib, Clinical Lead for the Stoke Mandeville Stadium Vaccination Centre and GP at Oakfield Surgery in Aylesbury, was one of the GPs running the Jubilee Road Mosque clinic. He said: “The vaccination clinic at Jubilee Mosque was a tremendous success, following our earlier pop-up clinic in Aylesbury. We are very grateful for all the support we have had from the mosque and community leaders in High Wycombe who have helped us to get the vaccine out to people who need it.

“It is really important that, as healthcare professionals, we continue to do everything possible to remove barriers to people accessing the vaccine. Going out to community settings like mosques means we can engage with people in a very positive way. It helps get the message out about how important it is that everyone takes up the offer of a vaccination, and means we reach people who may not otherwise have had one.”

Actively involved in arranging and running this initiative were GPs from across the county, including Dr Akhtar from Tower House Surgery in Wycombe, Dr Younas from The Simpson Centre in Beaconsfield, Dr Abbas from Bourne End and Wooburn Green Medical Centre, Dr Annan Ali, Dr Shaid of Poplar Grove Practice in Aylesbury, Dr Hyder of Water Meadow Surgery in Chesham and Dr Munir of Haddenham Medical Centre.

Cllr Arif Hussain, Chairman of the High Wycombe Community Board, also supported the pop-up clinic and had encouraged people to attend it. He said: “This health initiative was a great example of collaboration between mosques and other communities in Wycombe, and we would like to thank all the healthcare professionals and community figures who so worked hard to make this happen. The COVID pandemic affects all of us and it is vital that we continue to work together to make sure the vaccine reaches those who need it. I would urge anyone invited to have a vaccine to please take up the offer, to protect themselves, their loved ones and the wider community.”

More pop-up vaccination sites in Buckinghamshire are being planned.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “We would like to thank everyone involved for making the Jubilee Road Mosque pop-up clinic such a great success. We look forward to continuing to work with local communities across Buckinghamshire as the vaccination rollout progresses.”

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Drop-in vaccination clinic for the homeless comes to High Wycombe

GP Amanda Bartlett and volunteer, Nurse Averil Bird at the homeless vaccination clinic

A special drop-in COVID vaccination clinic was set up for homeless people in the Wycombe area this week, run by local GPs in collaboration with Wycombe Homeless Connection.
The clinic ran on Wednesday, 10 March, at the Kings Church in Desborough Road, with the vaccination team giving jabs to 20 patients who may otherwise have missed their chance for a vaccine.

The patients, including people who have been rough sleeping and staying in emergency shelters, were invited to the clinic by Wycombe Homeless Connection. Once there, patients were checked in and given the chance to ask any questions they might have about the vaccine.

The vaccination team on site was led by GP Dr Amanda Bartlett, of Priory Surgery, and volunteer, nurse Averil Bird. Dr Bartlett is also the Clinical Lead for the Cygnet Primary Care Network (PCN), which also includes Desborough, Kingswood and Tower House Surgeries, and has been carrying out vaccinations at the Adams Park COVID vaccination centre.
The Cygnet PCN has also been working collaboratively with Wycombe Homeless Connection over the last six months as part of a project to improve health outcomes for the local population, including homeless people. For several years, Tower House Surgery has also been working with the charity to support homeless people in accessing GP services. The PCN plans to expand that project across all its surgeries by the summer.

Dr Bartlett said: “We were all very eager to arrange this clinic to help address some of the health inequalities homeless people face. They are extremely vulnerable as a group of patients, so it’s really important for them to be vaccinated as soon as possible. But it can also be hard for them to get to a vaccination centre like the one we are running at Adams Park, so we wanted to reach out to invite them into this clinic. There would be a really strong chance that they wouldn’t get their vaccine otherwise.
“This has also been a great opportunity to work collaboratively with Wycombe Homeless Connection and with the fantastic support of King’s Church. The whole team has been really excited to put this clinic on.”

Patients who received their first vaccine this week will be invited to get their second jab at a follow-up clinic to be arranged within the next 12 weeks.

James Boultbee, CEO of Wycombe Homeless Connection said: “We were extremely concerned for the people we support at the beginning of the pandemic, many of whom face significant health inequalities and may be clinically vulnerable. Alongside the danger of the virus, two shocking facts are that the average age of death for homeless people in the UK is around their mid-40s, and the deaths of people who are homeless rose 37% in the last year alone.
“So, from the start of the pandemic, we worked with Buckinghamshire Council and a number of local agencies and together we were able to make sure no one had to sleep rough in Wycombe. This kept people safe both from COVID and the numerous other dangers of life on the streets.
“To be able to make sure our clients are included in the vaccination programme will also be life-saving. I’m hugely proud of the hard work of our team, Cygnet PCN and the way everyone has pulled together to make this happen. I’d also like to thank the team at King’s Church High Wycombe who offered their building to host a special clinic for clients who wanted to take up the offer of the vaccine.”

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We would like to thank everyone involved for working to make this clinic a success. It is a great example of the way GPs in Bucks are working to address health inequalities and ensure the most vulnerable people in our communities receive their COVID vaccination.”

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Unpaid carers urged to register to ensure they are invited for their COVID vaccination

Unpaid carers are being urged to make sure they are registered with Carers Bucks so they do not miss out on their invitation to get a COVID vaccination.

Carers fall into group 6 of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) priority list and are now being invited for their vaccinations.

However, some people who are eligible to get a vaccine may not be registered as an unpaid carer. Or, they may not have been previously identified as a carer by their GP surgery. Some people also may not realise they qualify as unpaid carer.

You are eligible to get a vaccination if:

  • You are receiving, or are eligible to receive, a carer’s allowance.
  • You are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is clinically extremely vulnerable. This includes carers of children who are clinically extremely vulnerable, as per the JCVI definitions.
  • You are 16 or 17 and are a carer of an elderly or disabled person who is clinically extremely vulnerable

Eligible carers who have been flagged by their GP and those that receive a Carers Allowance, or are eligible to receive it, will be invited for a vaccination. They will get a letter from the NHS asking them to arrange a vaccination through the National Booking System.

However, some unpaid carers in Bucks may not be recognised in these ways. Buckinghamshire Council is working with Carers Bucks to identify any unpaid carers who are not prioritised through the two routes above or are not currently known to either Carers Bucks or the Council. These people will then be sent letters inviting them to arrange a vaccination through the National Booking System.

If you are not already registered as an unpaid carer, please do so at https://carersbucks.org/contact-us/register/ or call 0300 777 2722 for more information.

Approximately 11,000 unpaid carers are already registered with Carers Bucks. The charity will send out emails or letters to all those under 70 years of age to ask permission to share their information with the NHS, so vaccine invitation letters can then be sent.

Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health, said: “If you are an unpaid carer, please make sure you are registered with Carers Bucks. By doing this, you can make sure you don’t miss out on your vaccination invitation, which will help to protect both yourself and the person you care for.

“Carers Bucks also offers other kinds of invaluable support to carers and can provide a real lifeline when you need it most. By registering with them, you will be able to access free services including information, emotional support, workshops and training.”

Vaccinations are now available across Buckinghamshire at:

  • 9 GP-led Vaccination Centres across the county (Buckingham, Burnham, Chalfont St Peter, Chesham, High Wycombe, High Wycombe town centre, Princes Risborough, Stoke Mandeville, Winslow; all by invitation from your surgery)
  • 8 Pharmacy-led sites (Aylesbury, Beaconsfield, Buckingham, Chesham, Haddenham, Marlow, Wing, Wycombe; all through the National Booking System)
  • 1 Large-Scale Vaccination Centre (Aylesbury; through the National Booking System)

More information on the vaccination programme in Buckinghamshire can be found here.

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisations definitions of people who are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable can be found here.

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COVID vaccination clinic comes to Aylesbury Mosque

Members of the vaccination team visit Aylesbury Mosque

The Aylesbury Mosque was transformed into a ‘pop-up’ COVID-19 vaccination clinic over the weekend, as vulnerable members of the community stopped by to get their jab.

This pop-up centre – the first of its kind in Buckinghamshire – was operated by members of the team at the Stoke Mandeville Stadium Vaccination Centre, with the support of key members of the community.

Nationally, data has shown that vaccination uptake is lower amongst people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. Experiences from earlier stages of the pandemic also show that COVID-19 has disproportionately affected people from BAME communities, making it vital for them to get their vaccinations when invited to do so.

Pop-up clinics like the one at Aylesbury Mosque aim to encourage greater uptake of vaccinations with the support of trusted local figures. They also offer a more convenient location to be vaccinated for many people, alongside the nine GP led vaccination sites across Bucks, one national vaccination site in Aylesbury, and eight pharmacy led sites in the county.

Dr Sajid Zaib, Clinical Lead for the Stoke Mandeville Stadium Vaccination Centre and GP at Oakfield Surgery, said: “The pop-up clinic went really well over the weekend and it was great to see so many people come to the mosque for their vaccination. It is part of our vision in Bucks to remove barriers to people accessing the vaccine. By actively engaging with the community, often with local healthcare professionals who speak the same language, we can reinforce our message about how important it is to get a vaccination in a very positive way.

“It is understandable that people may have some reservations about the vaccine, but it is really important to stress that the vaccine is safe and has been very rigorously tested.  There is also a lot of misinformation being spread about the vaccine that simply is not true. COVID-19 has badly affected people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds, so it is vital that people from all communities take up their offer of a vaccination when it comes. It is the only way they can protect themselves, their loved ones and everyone around them as we try to get back to a more normal life.”

Also actively involved in arranging this vaccination site were Dr Shaid of Poplar Grove Practice in Aylesbury, Dr Hyder of Water Meadow Surgery in Chesham and Dr Munir of Haddenham Medical Centre.

More pop-up vaccination sites in Buckinghamshire are now being planned.

Dr Raj Bajwa, Chair of NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “We would like to thank everybody at the Aylesbury Mosque for their invaluable support of the vaccination rollout and for helping make this pop-up site such a success. Initiatives like this are really important to ensure the vaccine reaches as many people as possible and we look forward to continuing to work with local communities across Buckinghamshire as the rollout progresses.”

The vaccination team at Stoke Mandeville Stadium is made up of GP practices across the Aylesbury area all working together, with support from Buckinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and hundreds of volunteers.