COVID-19 vaccination pop-up pilot launched in Northumberland
Wednesday 14 April 2021
People in Northumberland are soon to benefit from new pop-up COVID-19 vaccination clinics being piloted this week.
As part of its commitment to reducing health inequalities in the county, NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has been working with the Cramlington Seaton Valley Primary Care Network (PCN) to set up a Roving Vaccination Service which will see vaccines safely transported to people in the most rural parts of Northumberland as well as minority groups including Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, those affected by homelessness and residents from a BAME background.
A transit van has been specifically modified and customised to help ensure that residents in remote communities and hard to reach groups are not left behind in the vaccination programme.
Already more than 200,000 doses of the vaccine have been administered to Northumberland residents and, thanks to the CCG’s partnership working with the PCN and Northumberland Fire and Rescue, another 100 have been booked in to receive their first dose of the vaccine at the pop-up clinic at Bellingham Fire Station in Hexham on Thursday 15 April.
The vaccination team will be led by a team of healthcare staff from the Village Surgery in Cramlington, which includes a community paramedic, two practice nurses and a healthcare assistant. They will be supported by an admin team from the same practice, who will provide a vital support service to this clinic as they have done so far within the local vaccine sites.
Vaccinating from the pop-up clinic is Paula Jamieson, senior practice nurse from the Village Surgery in Cramlington. Paula said, “This new service provides people who live out in our most rural communities in Northumberland, who may find it difficult to travel to a large vaccination centre or their more local vaccination site, more choice as to where they can get vaccinated.
“Northumberland has a really unique geography with a diverse and disparate population and we’ve worked in collaboration with lots of different organisations to find the best and most practicable solutions to roll out COVID-19 vaccines. Piloting our pop-up vaccination service demonstrates this and also shows our commitment to ensuring as many people in Northumberland as possible are protected from COVID-19.”
Richard Hay, Head of Planning and Operations at the CCG said, “We have never seen a vaccination programme on this scale before and our teams in primary care have been working flat out to get the vaccine into as many people’s arms as possible whilst following the national roll-out guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) and have done a phenomenal job so far.
“We understand the uniqueness of Northumberland and we’ve had to overcome some big challenges with this roll-out. For example, the distance people have been expected to travel to attend a large vaccination centre.
“The introduction of the Roving Vaccination Service will make sure no-one is left behind. It’s a fantastic example of our local GPs working in collaboration across the county to deliver innovative services for the benefit of residents.
“Once we have today’s pilot clinic at Bellingham we will then make plans for other communities which could benefit from pop-up clinics. We must stress that this service is still in the early stages of development and is not a ‘walk-in’ service, all patients being vaccinated by the Roving Vaccination Service will continue to be invited to attend a clinic when it is their turn. We will continue to keep Northumberland residents fully updated as things progress.”
Residents are being reminded not to contact their GP practice to seek a vaccination appointment from their practice or the Roving Vaccination Service. Practices will contact people when it is the right time – no one will be missed. People are also being reminded not to turn up too early for their appointments.