Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has provided the following update on the Coronavirus vaccine rollout:
“A number of constituents have contacted me recently to express concern at the speed of the vaccine rollout, with many asking when they will get their jab. Clearly, this is a worrying time for many, so I wanted to provide some more information, to hopefully address those concerns.
“Good progress has been made thus far. On average, 140 jabs are being delivered per minute and 3.8% of those in the East of England have been vaccinated, according to the latest available data. This is great news, but more can be done – especially as some other regions appear to be vaccinating at a faster rate.
“That is why I have visited our local vaccine site, St Helena’s Hospice, and met with the staff and volunteers there to understand how they are operating – my thanks to them for all their hard work. I also have regular discussions with local NHS leaders, and I am asking for localised vaccination data, so we can more easily see where there are any holdups. I have also written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, to ask him to do all that he can to improve delivery in our area.
“From my perspective, the system is working well overall, but given the scale of this challenge there were always going to be teething issues. I can assure you that I am in constant contact with the respective NHS teams to raise and address those issues.
“Improvements to the system are, of course, also planned: local GPs, Clacton Hospital, and the Columbine Centre will soon come on stream to support the vaccination centre at St Helena’s, new mass vaccination centres are opening across the country, and the Government will trial 24-hour vaccination to speed up delivery even further.
“I am pleased that more than half of the over 80s have now received their jab, and that all residents in our local care homes are expected to be fully vaccinated by 24th January. It is also my understanding that North East Essex CCG expects to meet the target of vaccinating all those who are clinically vulnerable, or aged over 70, by 15th February. This means that our most vulnerable population is more protected than ever – an important step on the road to normality. And please be assured, those in the most vulnerable groups who are still waiting will be contacted soon.
“It is vital that people understand that they don’t need to contact the NHS. The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to have the jab. For most people this will be a letter, either from their GP or the NHS. This letter will include all the information people will need to book appointments, including their NHS number. Residents are asked not to contact the NHS to get an appointment until they have received this letter.
“Be in no doubt, we are making great progress, and this is a British success story. The daily case rate is beginning to drop, and everyone will be offered the vaccine in due course. But for now, our watchwords must be patience and adherence – adherence to the lockdown restrictions and patience to allow the NHS to do its job. That is the quickest way to return us to normality.”