Covid-19 vaccinations are being rapidly rolled out across Southport, with more venues including chemists due to join the programme in the next few days.
Southport MP Damien Moore has welcomed the news as he seeks to reassure people who have been offered jabs at the mass Coronavirus vaccination centre in St Helens that they can be seen closer to home if they prefer.
The Government is currently ensuring that more people in the UK are being vaccinated than any other country in Europe.
A record 491,970 people received their first Covid-19 vaccinations on Saturday, a pace that if maintained would allow the Government to beat its target for covering the most vulnerable people in society.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged to offer a first vaccination to 14.6 million people by February 15. This would include the over-70s, frontline health workers, care home staff and older residents and others with clinical conditions that put them at extreme risk.
As of Saturday, nearly 6.4 million had received a first dose. If the volume of vaccines administered on Saturday was maintained, the top four priority groups could be covered by February 10, nearly a week ahead of schedule.
Southport Conservative MP Damien Moore said: “The UK is making good progress in the fight against Covid-19 and with a vaccine comes light at the end of the tunnel. Ensuring as many people as possible receive the Covid-19 vaccine, especially those who are elderly and in the clinically medically vulnerable groups, is our best way of driving down cases, relieving pressure on our NHS hospitals and gradually easing lockdown restrictions.
“I understand many people in Southport have received letters from the NHS offering them Coronavirus vaccinations at the mass testing site in St Helens.
“I would like to reassure people not to worry. If you cannot travel to St Helens, you can choose to receive a vaccination closer to home in Southport if you prefer.
“Due to our town’s large elderly population, the programme in Southport is taking slightly longer than in other places. If you are able to travel to St Helens for your vaccination and it is safe and convenient, then please go, it will relieve the pressure on vaccination sites in Southport.
“I would encourage anyone offered a vaccine to do so, as the best way of keeping yourselves and others safe during this pandemic.”
NHS health chiefs in Sefton say they are working “as quickly as possible to those aged over 80 years” with Covid-19 vaccines.
Working together with the borough’s two clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), GP led services are working hard to immunise those residents over 80 years old and care home residents and staff.
As well as operating from local vaccination centres, roving teams of immunisers are going directly into care homes to vaccinate residents and staff. Staff at Southport & Ormskirk NHS Hospital trust are also being vaccinated.
Sefton’s GP led services are just one part of the national vaccination programme. A regional vaccination centre has also opened at St Helens rugby league club’s stadium, which is an additional option. Some pharmacies in Sefton, including some in Southport, will also join the national programme by the end of January.
MP Damien Moore said: “Please be patient as this vaccination programme is rolled out as quickly as possible in Southport.
“Please do not turn up at a regional vaccination centre without an appointment. The local GP led service will be in touch as soon as it can book you in for the vaccine.
“I would also like to urge people to stay safe and follow the Covid restrictions which the Government has put in place, even if you have had your first dose of the vaccine which gives you a good level of protection, but not the maximum.
“Keep taking similar precautions to keep yourselves and others safe. Maintain social distancing, wear face coverings where instructed to do so, and always remember ‘hands, space, face’.”
Some residents may be offered their vaccinations in hospital if they are an inpatient or an outpatient during the vaccine roll out. Hospitals are vaccinating health and care staff.
This is the biggest vaccination programme the NHS has ever undertaken.
You can find out more about the programme here www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/