Gloucestershire’s GP leaders are continuing to urge residents who have had their first COVID-19 vaccination to attend their second dose appointments as planned.

The large majority of people aged 50 years or over and people with underlying health conditions have had their first doses, and it is important that when the time comes they attend their second dose appointment to get the best long-term protection from the virus.

Clinical Chair of NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Andy Seymour, said:

“A single dose of the vaccine provides a good level of protection from COVID-19, but the second dose is essential to ensure the best possible protection.

Second dose vaccines have been allocated for every person who has had their first dose, so please do attend your appointment. This ‘top-up’ will maximise your protection from the virus.”

People who received their first dose through a GP service will be contacted to receive their second dose.

Those who booked their first appointment through the national booking service may have booked both their first and second appointments at the same time, and can log in at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine to be reminded of their arrangements.

Anyone who hasn’t received an appointment 11 weeks after their first appointment should contact their GP surgery.

NHS leaders have also praised vaccination teams across the county as the latest figures show that Gloucestershire remains at the vanguard of the community vaccination effort.

Over two thirds of people across Gloucestershire in the 45-49 age group have now received their first dose.

However, despite the good supply to support second doses, availability of vaccine for first doses has, as expected, become more limited for the time being, meaning that the speed of the roll-out to people in the latest priority group is not as rapid.

If they have not already been in contact, local GP services will be in touch as soon as supplies allow to offer an appointment slot locally to people between the ages of 42 and 49 at one of the ten Primary Care Network GP-led vaccination centres across the county.

Residents are politely asked not to call their GP surgery for their first dose of vaccine – the surgery WILL be in contact.

People aged 42-49 years can also be reassured that they will not need to travel outside of the county for their COVID-19 vaccination if they do not wish to.

Many people in the 42-49 age range will have also received a national letter from the NHS giving them the option to use the national booking website:

www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination or phone 119 to book a vaccination appointment at other available services.

Through the national booking website or phone number, residents can choose to make an appointment at one of three pharmacy locations in the county – Boots in Gloucester, Badhams Pharmacy in Bishops Cleeve and Cainscross Pharmacy in Stroud, subject to availability.

Some out of county services e.g. the large vaccination centre in Bristol, may be available to certain residents in priority groups (based on where they live) through the national booking system.

The local NHS is also looking to further increase the range of additional vaccination services and models available in the county.

Dr Andy Seymour added:

“We know people are very keen to receive their first doses, in particular people aged between 42 and 49 without underlying health conditions.

NHS vaccination teams in Gloucestershire will be progressing through this age group as soon as possible, as vaccine supplies pick up. We want to reassure residents that local GP services will, in due course, contact them to schedule appointments and they do not need to call their surgery at this time.

Local vaccination teams continue to stand ready, with the infrastructure in place, to vaccinate as many residents as possible, as quickly as possible, as soon as we receive additional supplies.”

Professor Steve Hams, Chief Nurse at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Senior Responsible Officer for the Gloucestershire COVID-19 Vaccination programme said:

“It is heartening to see that positive progress continues to be made by local vaccination teams and in particular a great many more people who are at greater risk from the virus are receiving their second doses across Gloucestershire.

We understand that younger adults could well be feeling somewhat frustrated as they wait patiently for their first dose, but the service is poised to step back up closer to capacity as additional supplies come on stream.”