Sam Hepplewhite - Placed Based Director (Southwark), NHS SELondon CCG provided an overview of the vaccination programme. She explained the programme had 4 key areas:
1. Frist key area: The 12 – 15 year old programme, which was going to be broadly school based to help restrict the amount time children would need to be away from school.
The vaccination teams would be administering the Covid vaccination alongside the flu vaccination. There would also be a mop up at other sites for those children who were unable to have their vaccination at school.
She explained that the process would be slightly different due to age of the individuals and as there neeeded to be a consenting process. The ambition was that everyone would have been invited by the end of October to have their vaccine.
2. Second key area: The Booster campaign for the key cohorts;
· 50 year olds and over
· Health and care staff
· 16-49 year olds who have an underling condition
· Those living in a residential care home and other residential homes
· Immunosuppressed individuals
3. Third key area: To make sure that those people who hadn’t taken up the offer of their first or second vaccination continued to get that offer. In Southwark that was about 90,000 people who hadn’t taken this offer. Therefore, it was important to ensure that when they made that decision it was as easy as possible for them to access a Covid vaccination whether it was their first or second.
4. Fourth key area: the flu vaccination programme: The criteria had opened up this year with more people being invited. The numbers were expected to be high this year as last year was a suppressed due to people mixing less. The programme aims to encourage as many people as possible to have their flu vaccination. There would also be the opportunity to have both covid and flu vaccination at the same time.
Councillor David Noakes asked the question as to whether Public Health had a statement in response to the dilemma for those who were being offered the booster jab and didn’t wish take up the offer but instead would prefer that the vaccine is instead redirected directed to where there is a shortage of covid vaccines..
The Director of Public Health acknowledged that over 50s not taking up the booster offer would unfortunately result in vaccine being wasted.
Sam Hepplewhite further explained that they had gone through the process of identifying a vaccine potentially going out of date before it could be used. The NHS working with Department of Health and Social care would organise for it to be collected (where it’s very clear that it’s not going to be used) and redistributed to ensure there is limited waste.
Board member Cassie Buchanan who represents Southwark Head raised the questions around the publicity and information being planned to accompany the 12 – 15 year old programme. She explained that secondary schools were already dealing with a lot of questions about how suitable vaccines are and actions around consent and that schools didn’t really have the information to adequately answer those questions. She suggested that it would be helpful if schools had that information or someone who could provide that information directly to parents.
Regarding the issues raised above Sam Hepplewhite agreed it would be useful to link in with schools on specific questions as they were developing a question and answer sheet. Consideration was being given to webinars so again it would helpful to cover the schools experiences in the webinar. This could also be linked into questions raised by parent about the flu vaccination.