Posted: 18.02.21 at 15:40 by Sian Bayley, Local Democracy Reporter
Plans for more mass vaccination sites in South West London have been unveiled.
People could soon be asked to attend appointments at Battersea Arts Centre (Wandsworth), Centrale Shopping Centre (Croydon), Queen Mary’s Hospital (Wandsworth), St Nicholas Centre (Sutton), Centre Court (Merton) and AFC Wimbledon (Merton).
The plans were revealed at last night’s South West London & Surrey Joint Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee (February 17), but NHS staff stressed these are still subject to change and it unknown when exactly they could start jabbing residents.
Sarah Blow from the South West London Health and Care Partnership told councillors that South West London is the best in the capital for vaccinating priority cohorts.
The region was targeted to give 262,000 first doses of the vaccine by February 14 (covering the top four priority groups), and exceeded this by providing more than 266,000.
At the close of play on February 16 it had given 294,000 first doses of the vaccine.
So far, more than 87 per cent of nursing home and care home residents have had the jab as well as more than 91 per cent of over 80s in the region.
Likewise, more than 91 per cent of over 70s have had their jab, and the current focus is on the over 65s.
More than 70 per cent of this group have been vaccinated so far.
Nevertheless, Ms Blow warned the figures so hide some differences across the boroughs, particularly with vaccine take-up in more deprived and BAME communities.
She said staff are working hard to target these groups to help them make “informed decisions” on whether to take the vaccine.
This includes offering vaccines again to care workers who refused the first time round.
Jai Patel from the Health and Care Partnership said some groups were hesitant to get the vaccine after concerns about fertility and female health.
NHS teams have focused on speaking to these groups about their concerns to tackle misinformation, as well as using community influencers to pass on information and feedback on people’s concerns.
“People often aren’t anti-vaxxers, they’re just not sure about getting the vaccine” said Mr Patel.
Ms Blow said more people are already starting to take up the vaccine after having seen others receiving it and seeing that it is safe.
South West London teams said they were “confident” they will be able to deliver vaccines to all nine priority cohorts by the end of April.
They said there have been no issues with vaccine supply so far and they are not expecting issues going forward.
However Ms Blow did warn that NHS staff are very tired at the moment, and more needs to be done to make vaccine delivery sustainable as it rolls out to the wider population.
“They have been through 12 months of full-on delivery both inside and outside of hospitals and this cannot continue indefinitely,” she said.
“We are currently sprinting a marathon at the moment, and we have to make sure we can get this in a sustainable position as we go forward.”