People in South Tyneside are being asked to avoid calling their GP practices to book Covid-19 vaccinations.
As the first phase of the Covid-19 vaccination programme gets underway in South Tyneside, GP practices have reported being "inundated with eager residents" attempting to book appointments for their vaccines.
Dr Matthew Walmsley, local GP and GP chair at NHS South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This is an important step in the battle against Covid-19 and we are delighted that we are now starting to deliver the vaccine to those who need it most in our local communities.”
The Covid-19 vaccines will become available as they are approved for use, and as each batch is manufactured.
Every dose of the vaccine will be used to protect those at highest risk, and GP practices in South Tyneside are working to ensure vaccines are given to the most vulnerable residents.
In the last fortnight, two centres in the borough have opened and a third will open in January. The third centre will initially prioritise people aged 80 years and above who have not yet received their vaccine
People who are housebound or live in a care home, and cannot get to a local vaccination centre, may have to wait for the right type of vaccine. This is because only some vaccines can be transported between people’s homes.
Dr Walmsley added, “Priority groups for the vaccine have been identified nationally. When it is the right time for you to receive your vaccination, you will receive an invitation. This may be via the phone or a letter either from your GP or the national booking system.
We understand that there is a great deal of interest in the vaccine and that people are eager to know when they will be able to get it.
“However, we would ask that people bear with us and wait for their GP practice to contact them. This is not a service that you can book in advance, so please don’t create extra work for your practice by calling in.”