Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Cllr Sean Donnelly, visited the borough’s COVID-19 vaccination centre in Kirkby today to see the mass immunisation programme in action.
The Kirkby centre is one of two clinics currently open in the borough with the other in Huyton. Cllr Donnelly met Kirkby’s Primary Care Network Clinical Director, Dr Mike Merriman, who explained how the vaccination worked and gave a behind scenes tour of the operation.
Cllr Donnelly also met 80 year old Prescot resident, Edward Hillier, who was receiving his first dose of the vaccine.
The COVID-19 vaccination programme is the biggest the NHS has ever undertaken and is being rolled out by NHS Knowsley Clinical Commissioning (CCG) Group and local GP surgeries working together in larger groups.
Knowsley Council is working in partnership with NHS Knowsley CCG to support with planning and logistical support, along with providing the buildings to use as vaccination centres.
Vaccinations are being delivered in line with the national priority groupings and currently this is care home residents and their carers, residents aged 80 and over and health and care staff. The next priority groups who will be called for vaccination are people aged 75 and over and then clinically extremely vulnerable adults and those 70 years of age and over. The aim is to have these priority groups vaccinated by mid-February, but locally, the aim is to have vaccinated care home residents, staff and people aged 80 and overs vaccinated before the end of this month.
At this point, people aged 75 and over will be invited for vaccination in the order of priority of age and health condition until everybody who wants a vaccination has had one. The vaccination centres operate an appointment only system, so please don’t attend if you don’t have an appointment. Residents may receive a letter from the NHS offering vaccination at other sites, you can choose to go to another area or wait until your practice contacts you for a vaccination locally.
Cllr Sean Donnelly, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: “It was great to visit our 2nd borough wide vaccination centre in Kirkby and see how well organised the whole operation is.
“Everyone working at the centre is playing a huge role in Knowsley’s fight against COVID-19, ensuring that our most vulnerable residents are protected and that our key workers are safe. I would like to thank them all.
“The COVID-19 vaccination is our route out of this pandemic, and it is only when people are protected from the virus that we can start to return to normal life. That is why I urge everyone to get vaccinated when they are contacted to do so.”
Dr Dawn Heath, local GP and COVID-19 Vaccination Programme Delivery Clinical Lead for Knowsley CCG, said: “The response, support and take-up rate of the vaccine from local people is really encouraging. With the Kirkby site now open, it means we can vaccinate more people across the borough, in line with the nationally-set priority groups.
“While we are incredibly pleased with the local response, we would like to ask our local people to please be patient with us while we work through the priority groups. Our sites have been set up to move to operating seven-days-a-week when vaccine supply allows.
“Patients will be contacted directly by their GP practice, or the national NHS team when it their turn to receive the vaccine.”
For more information on the vaccination programme visit nhs.uk/covidvaccine