Covid Vaccination Programme Update – 25th August 2021

The Vaccine Centre at the Old Health Centre in Cinderford is welcoming all young people to come and get their vaccine! Younger people volunteering at the Centre relate to the concerns of their peers and are encouraging them to get vaccinated and to understand the importance of getting it done. The Centre is offering a number of drop in clinics for 16+ (no appointments necessary) and open for everyone to stop by and get jabbed. To date, nearly 300 of the Forest’s 16 – 18 year olds have already popped in and had their jab; for this age cohort, only one dose is necessary under current guidelines.

Clinic dates are always published on the Forest GP Surgeries Facebook page and on the website www.forestgpsurgeries.co.uk but for those unable to attend previously advertised dates, clinics will be held on:

Wednesday 08 September:  08.40 to 12.30 and 13.40 to 17.30

Friday 10 September:  08.40 to 12.30 and 13.40 to 17.30

These clinics are for anyone aged 16+ for 1st dose (one dose for 16 – 18 year olds, remember two for over 18s), and anyone who requires a 2nd dose and it has been 8 weeks+ since their 1st. Patients will be turned away if they present earlier than 8 weeks for their 2nd dose. Booked appointments available or drop in and open to anyone eligible (not just those registered with a Forest GP Surgery). A number of patients have been contacting their Surgery trying to expedite their 2nd dose, as mentioned, this is not possible. Patients are urged not to book holidays which stipulate the requirement to be fully vaccinated unless they genuinely are. Tiff Cairns, Lead Nurse said ‘your vaccination status will be on your medical record, patients need to download the NHS App, complete the registration and access information to view their immunisation status’. The App can be used in some places to demonstrate you are fully vaccinated – check gov.uk for further details.

Everyone working at the Centre understands it can be quite daunting to get a vaccine, especially during a pandemic when life feels upside down. Dan Jones, one of the younger volunteers said ‘the Centre has really sensitive and caring nurses and staff who are always warm and welcoming to patients. If patients feel under the weather or anxious at any point this will immediately be taken into consideration and the staff all do the best they can to comfort them’. Izzy Sykes said ‘we have been encouraging our friends through social media to come and get vaccinated. Many young people will be starting Sixth Form, College and University soon so should really think about getting their vaccine, especially as the 16 – 18 year olds only need a single dose’.

Our local Vaccine Programme has given some younger people the opportunity to volunteer and work non-clinical roles at the Centre providing them with great experience during a very challenging time, some have been working there since the beginning of the Vaccine roll out, Tim, Dan, Alicia and Izzy have all enjoyed their experiences at the Centre. Tim Beard who initially joined as a marshall has now taken the role of Senior Administrator commented ‘I have gained experience working in patient-facing roles which will be great for future employment. Everyone has been amazingly welcoming and lovely to work with. The atmosphere is so supportive’. Alicia Davies, who currently does non-clinical work at the Centre now also has a job in healthcare and is looking to do nurse training next year.

The final cohort for vaccination is those aged 12 -15 years who are themselves immunocompromised or live in a household where a family member is immunocompromised.   Appointments for this group will be held from 31 August to 4 September and anyone in this category will be contacted by the Vaccine Centre at Cinderford to discuss the process and to book an appointment if patients choose to do so. An information leaflet is available at www.forestgpsurgeries.co.uk and should answer many queries young people may have.

For those ladies planning a pregnancy or who are already pregnant are also encouraged to get vaccinated following recently issued guidance from The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Ladies with any concerns about getting vaccinated should talk to their healthcare professional.

For anyone with general concerns, there is always a GP present at the Vaccination Centre who will be happy to answer any vaccine concerns when patients arrive for their appointment or to a drop in clinic. All Covid Vaccinations are given from the Centre in Cinderford and not at individual GP Surgeries in the Forest.

Finally, thanks to all volunteers at the Vaccination Centre and Forest GP Surgery staff for all their hard work in the delivery of a successful national Vaccination Programme. By time of writing over 78,000 vaccines will have been given at the Cinderford Centre.