Rt Hon Theresa May MP visits local vaccination service to see health checks being offered alongside Covid-19 vaccinations to Maidenhead residents

Maidenhead Primary Care Network (PCN) is making the most of its Covid-19 vaccination drive, to ensure that all those booked-in for their vaccinations, are being offered health checks at Maidenhead PCN Health Pod, to screen our population and optimise their health during this pandemic.

The Local Vaccination Service at Desborough Suite was launched in December 2020. The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccination site at the Desborough Suite has gone from strength to strength in line with national timelines and guidance. Now, the majority of Maidenhead residents in the highest four priority groups have had their first vaccinations (residents of older people’s care homes, front line health and care workers, clinically extremely vulnerable patients and those aged 70 and over).

Completing these cohorts in itself is an achievement as there is a high percentage of people within these groups in Maidenhead, so ensuring everyone eligible was offered the chance to take up the vaccine was vital. Second vaccinations will be provided for Maidenhead residents at the same venue as they received their first dose.

The feedback from local residents has been fantastic – people are keen to take up the vaccination and really do see this as a way to support the gradual easing of the lockdown and a return to a more normal way of life once more of the population have been protected. The Maidenhead PCN has worked with the local authority outreach workers to ensure that the rough sleeper homeless population have also been offered the Covid-19 vaccination. It is important that no member of our community is left behind.

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Rt Hon Theresa May MP said “I was pleased to be able to visit the local vaccination service in Maidenhead and see the fantastic work being done by NHS staff with support from a great team of volunteers. I know from people who have been vaccinated here that the process was very smooth and they were well looked after. Thank you to everyone involved in this important work. If you are contacted by the NHS to get the vaccine I urge you to do so – the vaccine is safe and will give you vital protection.”

Dr Amandeep Dosanjh, Clinical Director for the Maidenhead PCN said “Currently, we are vaccinating residents in line with Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidelines. We know our patients, and we are able to generate lists and book appointments for those eligible, based on the predicted amount of vaccine we are to receive.  We know the vaccine is safe and effective and that people want to be protected against coronavirus.”

Dr Dosanjh added “The fact that we are able to offer health checks to patients coming in for their vaccination is excellent. While we keep saying the NHS is here for you, we know that some people have been hesitant to come forward with their concerns. For this reason, using the opportunity of people coming to us, to check-in on our patient’s health, is going to be invaluable.”

Vaccinating the Maidenhead population really has been a coordinated effort and the use of the Desborough Suite is thanks to the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM). “The Desborough Suite contains a large theatre auditorium with separate access to the Town Hall,” said Cllr Andrew Johnson, leader of the council. “As this facility was unavailable to the public due to COVID-19, we were more than happy to offer it to our health partners for community use and to support the roll-out of the vaccine for our residents.”

Dr Huw Thomas, Interim Place based Clinical Lead for RBWM, Frimley Collaborative commented that “Everything we are doing at our local vaccination service in Maidenhead is only possible thanks to the dedication and commitment of our volunteer marshals. They meet and greet the patients and talk them through what to expect. Many people who come for their vaccination haven’t been out of the house in a while, and so they welcome a friendly face and a reassuring chat. With the volunteers taking such a key role, it enables the vaccinators to focus on what they need to do.”

Dr Thomas added “while we are vaccinating more and more people, we also need to remind everyone that two doses of the vaccine are still needed to get the best protection from the virus, and we do need to continue to social distance, wash our hands and wear face protection. We can get through this, if we continue to keep up these measures.”

Nationally, the last invites to those aged 70 and over on the Shielded Patients List who are yet to be vaccinated have now been delivered. To ensure that nobody is left behind, the NHS is now asking people in this group, as well as health and social care workers, who have not had their first dose yet to come forward. Eligible people in these groups can use this link to book their appointment via the national booking service: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/

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Notes for the editor:

  • The public have an important part to play:
    • If you are aged 70 and over and haven’t had your first dose yet, please come forward now and make an appointment at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination, or by phoning 119 if you can’t use the internet
    • If you do not fall in the above category, please do not contact the NHS – we will contact you.
    • Supplies of the vaccine do remain limited, meaning we need to ensure all the doses we do have go to those people who need them most. So when we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments. By arriving at exactly the time you’re asked to helps to avoid queues in this cold weather;
    • Please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives.