To receive a presentation from the Director of Public Health and the Clinical Commissioning Group (APPENDIX C).
Members received a presentation on the COVID-19 vaccination programme from Rachel Mitcheson, Service Director for Transformation and Integrated Care at Northumberland CCG. (Presentation attached as Appendix C).
The public were reminded that the NHS were working through the priority groups and that they would be in touch with members of the public when it was their turn to be vaccinated.
The Committee were informed that in the last 12 weeks over 2.3 million people had been vaccinated across the North East and Yorkshire region. This equated to about 34% of the total eligible population and included 94% of care residents, 75% of care home staff and 91% of people identified as extremely vulnerable. Within Northumberland, 102,831 people (38% of the eligible population) had received their first dose of the vaccine. 70,582 of those vaccinated were over 65.
The Committee were shown were the local vaccination sites (LVS) were across the County and were reminded that transport was available for those unable to access vaccination sites.
With regards to NHS staff, Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust had vaccinated all of their frontline employees; while Northumbria Healthcare had vaccinated over 18,000 staff across the wider health and social care system, and CNTW had vaccinated over 80% of their staff and also most vulnerable inpatients. Within Northumberland 10,368 out of 11,163 social care staff had been vaccinated. A further list of staff groups that had been vaccinated was also shared with the Committee.
The Centre for Life in Newcastle remained the chief vaccination site for the North East with access to the National Booking Service. This is a national system which is used by people identified by letters sent to specific cohorts that had been agreed at a national level. The Centre for Life would be used to support JCVI groups 5 and 6 and remaining health and social care workers. People still had the choice to access their vaccination via primary care if they wanted. Due to supply and demand issues with the National Booking Service, many people were opting to wait and to use primary care. Cohorts 1-4 had now been vaccinated and cohorts 5-9 should be vaccinated by 15th April. A change in national guidance resulted in JCVI groups 5 and 6 being split between National Booking System (Cohort 5) and primary care networks (Cohort 6).
Some practices had already started to deliver 2nd doses around the 11th week since the first dose. PCN’s had been working to develop a pull model to enable better planning for delivery and capacity.
Across the 10 local vaccination sites, over 102,000 doses had been delivered in the 11 weeks from December to February. 147,746 doses (including 2nd doses) were to be delivered in the next 9 weeks; this equates to an 63% increase in number of doses.
The Committee were shown two graphs which showed the number of vaccines received and the number of projected vaccines needed until the end of April. Due to the increase in activity, the CCG had been asked to review its sites and they had considered three regular roving sites in Haltwhistle, Rothbury and Wooler due to their rurality. These roving sites would be able to provide around 500 vaccines a day whilst travelling the County. The roving sites could also be used to offer vaccines in areas with high levels of health inequality or transport issues. The CCG would monitor the data and vaccine supply at each site which would allow the roving model to be redirected to ensure equality across the patch. Consideration had also been given to larger vaccination centre in Morpeth and Hexham. This is currently under the consideration of the national team. Community pharmacies had been approved last week and would be able to start delivering vaccines soon.
A vaccine equity board had been established between the CCG and public health to identify and address potential areas of inequality. The board had also been tasked with identifying refusals and analysing the data to identify patterns and address these.
Looking to increase capacity and greater choice the roving model would support rural and hard to reach groups; vaccination centres would provide Northumberland with access to the National Booking System meaning residents may not need to travel to Newcastle and; community pharmacies would further increase local options.
Members and residents were reminded to be patient and reassured they would not be missed and would be invited for a vaccine soon.
Members asked why the vaccine supply was not always reflective of availability at some practises. The North East was seeing their vaccine supply reduced to the successful in vaccinating residents. The CCG highlighted that supply was controlled nationally and some weeks did result in smaller allocations. However, Members were reassured that the allocation for Northumberland over the next two weeks was significant.
The number of refusals was being monitored closely via the vaccine equity board. As the cohorts progress, refusals are starting to increase and GPs are coding these so the board can investigate. Insight work had also been started to help influence the communication strategy geared towards the younger cohorts.
In relation to a question asked about the number of people requiring transport to receive their vaccine, an exact number was unavailable but was being looked at. Concern was also raised around residents not booking transport when booking their vaccines. Practices were regularly reminded to promote the offer of transport when booking patients’ vaccine appointments.
RESOLVED that the information be noted.