Following extensive trials, the first safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in the UK and is now available to priority groups.

Vaccinations are being delivered according to priority groups identified by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The vaccinations may not take place at your GP practice, but rather a local vaccination service (led by GPs, practice nurses and community pharmacists) who are responsible for delivering the vaccine to people in your community.

When it is the right time for you to receive your vaccination, you will receive an invitation to come forward. This may be via the phone, or through a letter either from your GP or the national booking system.

We know lots of people will be eager to get protected but we are asking people not to contact us to get an appointment as you will not be able to get one until you are contacted.

Key messages for clinically vulnerable patients in cohort 6

Clinically vulnerable people are being vaccinated in cohort 6. The JCVI defines clinically vulnerable people as those with:
•Chronic respiratory disease, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis and severe asthma
•Chronic heart disease (and vascular disease)
•Chronic kidney disease
•Chronic liver disease
•Chronic neurological disease including epilepsy
•Down’s syndrome
•Severe and profound learning disability
•Solid organ, bone marrow and stem cell transplant recipients
•People with specific cancers
•Immunosuppression due to disease or treatment
•Asplenia and splenic dysfunction
•Very obese (BMI of 40 or above)
•Severe mental illness (such as schizophrenia or bipolar disease)

GP practices will be working through their lists of patients and will contact them when they are eligible and have supply of the vaccine.

Please don’t be worried if you or a family member is in one of the priority groups and hasn’t heard anything so far.

You might know others in the other priority groups who have been invited for their vaccination already, but that does not mean that you or your relative are a lower priority or have been forgotten.

This is the biggest vaccination programme in UK history and this is one of the biggest cohorts of patients which means it will take time to vaccinate all the eligible people.

Supply of the Pfizer and Oxford vaccines are coming through in small batches, which means we are rolling it out in waves. This means you may be contacted at short notice to attend your vaccination.

The NHS is working hard to vaccinate as many people in this group as quickly as possible and many more people will be invited in.

Thank you for your patience.