Hundreds receive life-saving Covid-19 jab in faith setting clinics

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Hundreds of people received their first Covid-19 jab in special vaccination clinics held in faith settings in Wolverhampton on Sunday (14 February, 2021).Gertrude and Clifford Sulumba

While uptake of the life-saving vaccine among eligible groups has been generally very high, GPs are reporting more hesitancy among some Black and Minority Ethnic communities.

To encourage more people to get their jab and make it more accessible, a team from Wolverhampton North Network Primary Care Network visited the Jamia Masjid Bilal and the UKIM Madinah Masjid mosques, the Gurdwara Nanaksar Thath and the Wednesfield Seventh Day Adventist Church on Sunday to administer the first dose of the vaccine to eligible members of their congregations.

Dr Shahid Rafiq, Clinical Director, Wolverhampton North Network Primary Care Network: “We were delighted to organise outreach pop-up vaccination clinics in religious centres across the city. These clinics were in addition to our main Vaccination Service at Keats Grove Surgery, which has been very successful and has already vaccinated thousands of Wolverhampton residents.

Over 70 and not had your COVID-19 vaccine? Contact the NHS now to book

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People aged 70 and over who have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 and who would like to are being asked to contact the NHS to arrange a jab.

Until now we have asked local people to wait until they are contacted to help ensure that those who are most vulnerable are protected first - and that remains the case for most people. However, to ensure absolutely everyone across the Black Country and West Birmingham in the highest priority groups is offered the vaccine, people aged 70 and over can now contact the NHS so they can be vaccinated by the middle of this month.

The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination The system allows patients to choose a time slot and location that suits them. Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. If a suitable and convenient slot is not available people can also call their GP practice.

Many who have not yet booked an appointment are already receiving follow up letters and phone calls this week to encourage them to take up the offer of a jab.

Local GPs are also contacting their clinically extremely vulnerable patients, who have been asked to shield, to ensure they have been offered the vaccine also.

Health and social care workers, who are also among the top four priority groups for vaccination, should speak to their employer about arranging their jab.

Sally Roberts, Chief Nurse for Black Country and West Birmingham CCGs said: “We are making strong progress with our vaccination rollout across the Black Country and West Birmingham, with every eligible care home receiving a visit and thousands more people being vaccinated at one of our vaccination sites. But we want to ensure everyone in an eligible group has had the chance to get protected. No one will be left behind but we are seeing some people not taking up the offer. I really encourage anyone who is aged 70 and over or is on the shielded patient list to contact the NHS and make an appointment now if they have not yet taken up the offer of a vaccine or have not received an invite,”

Dr Masood Ahmed, Chief Medical Officer, Black Country and West Birmingham CCGs, said: “The vaccination programme is a major step forward in the battle against COVID-19 and gives us a light at the end of the tunnel. Whilst we are on track to meet our goal of offering everyone in the top four priority groups a vaccine, we are aware that some people have still not booked to get theirs. I now urge everyone aged 70 and over who hasn’t yet had a vaccination to come forward and contact the NHS to book their jab. And I ask those who have grandparents, relatives and friends over 70, to please encourage them to book an appointment as soon as possible, so they can be protected against this awful virus. Vaccines are the way out of this pandemic and, by ensuring you and your loved ones get booked in for a jab, the NHS can give those most at-risk the protection they need as we continue to fight this disease together.”

The national booking system allows people to arrange a jab at a local Vaccination Centre or pharmacy service. GP teams are following up with any of their patients they are yet to vaccinate. Appointments are staggered to allow for social distancing and people are urged not to turn up early to avoid queues.

People who do not know their NHS number can still book an appointment through the national system but will only be given an appointment if they are in the top four priority groups.

Faith and health leaders host online Covid-19 Q&A session

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A special online question and answer session about the Covid-19 vaccine is being held this week with health experts and faith leaders.

Taking part will be Dr Masood Ahmed, Chief Medical Officer with the Black Country & West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Group, Madhu Patel from the Shree Ram Mandir in Walsall, Imaam Moulana Ibrahim, the Bishop of Lichfield the Rt Rev Dr Michael Ipgrave and Sikh speaker Gurdip Singh.

It takes place at 6pm on Thursday (11 February, 2021). To book a free place, visit https://vaccine-and-faith.eventbrite.co.uk.

Councillor Jasbir Jaspal, the City of Wolverhampton Council Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: "This online session will enable the community to hear from NHS experts and local faith leaders about why they think people should make sure they get their jab when they are offered it. Sadly, there is a lot of misinformation and 'fake news' around the vaccine, so this is an opportunity for people across Wolverhampton and the wider region to ask any questions they have in relation to the vaccination programme.”

Mohammed Yasin, BAME Covid-19 Community Development Worker at Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, has helped to organise the event. He said: “We know that the current uptake of the Covid-19 vaccine amongst the BAME community is a lot lower than amongst others, so it’s really important that as a health and social care system we do everything we can to encourage this community to take up the vaccine when offered. This event is the perfect opportunity for people to understand more about the vaccine and its development and ask questions which will hopefully help to alleviate any concerns they might have.”

Latest figures show there were 305.9 cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 people in Wolverhampton over the seven days to 6 February. That means 805 people in the city tested positive for the virus in that seven day period – though the true number of new cases will likely be considerably higher.

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus. Information about the vaccine can be found at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/covidvaccine. Further details of the lockdown restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/covidalert.

Aldersley Leisure Village goes live as Covid-19 vaccination site

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Aldersley Leisure Village has been transformed into a Covid-19 vaccination site, and medical staff began delivering the life-saving jab to patients yesterday (Monday 1 February, 2021).

With the City of Wolverhampton Council-run leisure centre currently closed because of the national lockdown, the council has worked closely with Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group to enable it to play a key part in the vaccination programme. Those most at risk are being offered the vaccination first, and it will be rolled out to other groups in order of age and risk over the coming weeks and months. For details of the priority list, visit www.gov.uk/coronavirus. The NHS will contact people when they become eligible for the vaccine; people should not contact their GP or pharmacy.

Among those getting their vaccine yesterday was Delroy Annon who said: "I didn't feel it at all, and I would advise anyone to take it because it could save your life - that's why I've taken it, so I can live a bit longer!”PCN COVID 19 ALDERSLEY 6

Manjit Singh, 40, from Blakenhall, accompanied his father Surinder along to Aldersley for his vaccine. He said: "I have brought my dad here because it's good for his health and I am asking everyone to get their vaccine."

Councillor Ian Brookfield, Leader of the City of Wolverhampton Council, said: "Aldersley Leisure Village has already played an integral role in our fight against coronavirus, firstly as a food distribution hub during the lockdown last spring, and secondly as a drive-through test site. We are very happy to make the centre available again, this time to help with the vaccination drive.

"We want to make it as easy as possible for people to get their vaccine as and when they are invited to do so, and Aldersley Leisure Village benefits from ample parking and good public transport links. The size of the building means we will also be able to upscale the number of vaccines that can be delivered from this site as and when required.

“This is a perfect example of what we can do together as a city to get as many vaccines done as quickly as possible, because the quicker we do it the quicker we can get back to some sort of normal life. Speak to your doctor, your GP, a nurse, a friend who works for the NHS; they'll tell you why it is important to have the vaccine, so when it is your time please don’t miss out.”

Dr Kam Ahmed, local GP and Primary Care Vaccination Lead for Wolverhampton, said: “Through integrated working with Wolverhampton CCG, local GPs and the City of Wolverhampton Council, we are now able to consolidate vaccine delivery sites and stand up a larger site which will allow us to work more efficiently and effectively. It will also ensure that we can increase footfall and our ability to roll out the vaccine as quickly as possible. We want to make it clear that vaccination alone doesn’t make the infection rates go up or down, it’s also about making sure that people maintain ‘Hands, Face, Space’ and lockdown rules. What we do want to do is defeat Covid by following social distancing and ensuring that you get your vaccine. We can help by ensuring that the vaccine is rolled out as quickly as possible to the residents of Wolverhampton.”

Alderley joins seven other sites in Wolverhampton which are currently delivering the Covid-19 vaccine. Mass vaccination sites have also opened at the Black Country Living Museum in Dudley and Millennium Point in Birmingham.

There are three ways to get the Covid-19 vaccine in Wolverhampton. Eligible patients may be contacted by their GP to attend a local GP-led vaccination service, such as that at Aldersley Leisure Village, they may be invited to have their vaccine at a mass vaccination site, such as the Black Country Living Museum or they may receive the vaccine at a Hospital Hub, after a hospital stay or when attending for other appointments.

All the vaccines currently available have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The latest information and guidance around coronavirus is available at www.gov.uk/coronavirus and on the council’s own coronavirus pages at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/coronavirus. Further details of the lockdown restrictions currently in place, and the answers to frequently asked questions, are available at www.wolverhampton.gov.uk/covidalert.

Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, which include a fever, a new continuous cough or a change to the sense of taste or smell, must immediately self-isolate and book a PCR test by visiting www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or calling 119.

Aldersley Leisure Village is the latest site to become a vaccine service in Wolverhampton

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Aldersley Leisure Village will begin to support local GPs to deliver their vaccination services from tomorrow. The site, which has been approved by NHS England & Improvement, will give additional capacity and improved flow of patients receiving their Covid-19 vaccination.

Dr Salma Reehana, Clinical Chair, Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We hope that, by delivering the vaccine at sites such as Aldersley Leisure Village, the opportunity to have the vaccine is accessible to our most vulnerable population. We're working with our GPs and partners to ensure that we can vaccinate those with most need as outlined by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. We will be in touch with those eligible for a vaccine as soon as we have appointments available – there’s no need for people to contact their pharmacy or GP – and I'd encourage people to step forward when they’re asked to do so because this is our opportunity to protect ourselves and each other.”