COVID-19 vaccination programme marches on as NHS reaches out to local groups to ensure nobody gets left behind

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The NHS in Essex is working with its partners to reach out to its vulnerable and at-risk residents, to encourage them to accept the invitation for COVID-19 vaccination to make sure nobody gets left behind.

National insight has shown that certain groups and communities are experiencing lower uptake of the jab and this is a cause for concern, as often certain health conditions associated with an increased risk of ending up in hospital, are often overrepresented in these groups.

Dr Sunil Gupta, a GP and Senior Responsible Officer for promoting equality and reducing inequalities in mid and south Essex said: ‘We absolutely need to get the message to these communities that getting the vaccine is safe, easy and will protect you from this terrible disease, especially as those who are most hesitant are, sadly, the ones who are at higher risk. To achieve this, the NHS and its partners is reaching out to these people to hear their concerns and identify the best way to overcome their issues.’

The local NHS and its partners from across Essex are working together to reach out to these groups through:

  • Conversations with leaders of local Mosques to discuss opportunities and identify solutions with the Muslim community
  • Exploring how we can provide vaccination facilities for some women, so they are able to received their vaccine in a dignified way in a private area just for them
  • Working with partners to make sure we can reach out to the homeless and rough sleeping community
  • Support for vulnerable women and others groups, such as refugees to access the vaccine
  • Providing specific accommodations, adapted clinic and communications for people with sensory impairment, through working with ECL Sensory Care
  • The Essex Learning Disability Partnership (ELDP) is working with the local health and social care system to support adults with learning disabilities get vaccinated

Community listening sessions are also being held to reach these groups and through working collaboratively with partners, we are developing inclusive and accessible communications materials to add to the library of resources already available on our website Also, our ‘Spread the word not the virus’ social media campaign, featuring local clinicians acting as role models in our community, has already been launched across Essex.

NHS Invites People Aged 56 To 59 For Their Covid Jab

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People aged 56 to 59 are being invited to book a life-saving Covid jab this week as the NHS vaccination programme, the biggest in health service history, continues to gather pace.

Letters to 850,000 people aged 56 to 59 began landing on doorsteps from Saturday with another 850k due to land today (Monday).

The latest invites have been sent after more than 8 in ten people aged 65 to 69 took up the offer of a jab.

NHS staff have vaccinated more than 18 million people across England, meaning more than one third of the adult population, have already received the life-saving jab.

Dr Nikki Kanani, NHS national medical director for primary care and a GP, said: “The NHS vaccine programme is committed to protecting the country against coronavirus and it is testament to our incredible staff that we can now move on to the next age group.

“We must not forget that our success in vaccinating more than 18 million people is down to careful planning and the hard work of those staff.

“The vaccines are both safe and effective, so if anybody who is eligible but hasn’t been vaccinated yet, I’d urge them to go online or call 119 and get themselves booked in.”

People receiving the letters are invited to go online to the national booking service to arrange a jab at a time and location that is convenient for them. If they are not able to go online, they can call 119 free of charge.

The NHS is vaccinating in line with JCVI guidance which sees people invited to be vaccinated in order of risk, which increases with age and people aged between 50 and 55 are set to be invited shortly.

Health and Care Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“The NHS vaccination programme is in full swing and more than 21 million of the most at-risk people have already received their first dose.

“This includes more than 90% of those aged 65 and over and almost 9 in 10 people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

“It’s an extraordinary feat and we remain on track to offer a first vaccine to all adults by 31 July.

“We are now inviting people aged 56 to 59 to get their jabs and I urge everyone eligible to come forward as soon as possible.”

Vaccinations are now being administered at more than 1,600 sites across the country, including mosques, museums and rugby grounds, with the distribution of centres meaning 98% of the country lives within 10 miles of at least one vaccination service.

People can use the national booking service to reserve a slot at a NHS Vaccination Centre or one of the pharmacy-led services across the country.

Appointments are staggered to allow for social distancing and people are being asked not to turn up early to avoid creating queues.

Everyone will receive a health status check and a pre-vaccination assessment before they have their jab.

The NHS made history when Maggie Keenan became the first person in the world to be protected against coronavirus outside of a clinical trial when she received the Pfizer vaccine at Coventry Hospital on 8 December.

The NHS was also the first health system to deliver the new Oxford AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine when Brian Pinker, 82, received his on 4 January.

COVID-19 information is available in different languages and more accessible formats, to ensure no one is forgotten

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The NHS in Essex is making sure everyone has access to useful information about COVID-19 and the vaccination programme.

A range of materials in different languages including Polish, Romanian and Chinese, along with information in different formats including easy-read leaflets, and video, can be found on the recently launched Essex-wide website This will help make sure that we reach as many of our diverse communities across Essex as possible.

The information available covers a range of topics including:

  • General vaccination advice and guidance
  • Easy-read information for people with learning difficulties
  • Resources for people with sensory impairment
  • Information on why you have to wait for a vaccine and what to expect afterwards
  • Advice for older adults and pregnant women
  • Advice for using transport
  • Key information for migrants

You can access translated and easy-read information by visiting the ‘Information and Support’ page at 

Dr Sunil Gupta, a GP and Senior Responsible Officer for promoting equality and reducing inequalities in mid and south Essex said:

“We want to make sure everyone in Essex has access to the latest information about COVID-19 and getting vaccinated. This includes residents from our diverse communities who we know can sometimes be hesitant about getting a vaccination.

“This can be down to language barriers in our communities as well as the need to make information available in a range of formats that are easily understood. Providing translated information in a resident’s own language is an essential part of getting everyone vaccinated and protecting our communities.”

Building begins on the brand new integrated medical centre in Corringham

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Improving health, social and community services in Thurrock has moved another step forward as building work has begun on the new Integrated Medical Centre (IMC) in Corringham.

Site photo in snow 1

To mark the start of building works, leaders from the Thurrock Integrated Care Partnership - which includes the NHS, Thurrock Council and the voluntary sector - invited Corringham residents, staff and parents of Graham James Primary Academy and local councillors to a virtual engagement event to find out more about the building works and what services the centre will provide when it opens next year.

Stephanie Dawe, Chief Nurse and Executive Director of Integrated Care for Essex and Kent, NELFT, said: “The new medical centre will be at the heart of the community, so the virtual engagement event was a great opportunity for us to tell residents what services Corringham IMC will provide, and how we are ensuring local people are kept safe and updated during the building works.

“There were a number of questions from the public on the safety of the building works, parking and transport, and why we’re building integrated medical centres, and we had a panel of people behind the programme on hand to answer. We will be holding more engagement events in the future – and we hope some of them can be in person once COVID restrictions have lifted – so please keep an eye on the Better Care Together website for the latest news on the project.”

Due to open its doors to the community in spring 2022, Corringham IMC is one of four new medical centres being created across Thurrock as part of the Better Care Together Thurrock transformation programme, led by the Thurrock Integrated Care Partnership. These new centres will not only transform health and social care services in the area, but will improve GP waiting times, reduce the number of people needing to be admitted to hospital, and future proof these services for a growing population.

Corringham IMC 2

Corringham IMC, which is being funded by North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) which provides community care and mental health services for children and young people in Essex, Kent and London, will be home to a range of health and social care services including adults and children’s mental health services, GP services, blood testing and general outpatient services. The Better Care Together Thurrock partnership is working closely with the appointed building contractor, Neilcott Construction, to ensure the building works are safe and considerate of the local community.

Corringham IMC 4

Mark Tebbs, NHS Alliance Director, Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We know changing how and where health and social care services are provided can be worrying but, now more than ever, we need to look at different - and better - ways of delivering care.
“Health, social care and community teams will be able to provide better, more joined up care to local people in these new, 21st century facilities.”

Councillor Allen Mayes, Cabinet Member for Health and Air Quality, who presented at the event, said: “I was pleased to support this event and the Better Care Together Thurrock Partnership, whose teams, from next year, will provide the local area with a number of vital health and social care services closer to residents’ homes.

“The council is fully committed to the development of four IMCs across the borough, moving from outdated, isolated facilities and patchy services, to specially-designed buildings in our communities, delivering a joined up service model that places residents at its heart.”

Hoarding Corringham IMC

Corringham IMC is being built close to Graham James Primary Academy, the partners have been and will continue to work closely with the local community, including the school, local businesses and GPs, to make sure this new facility meets the needs of the local area and the residents of Thurrock.

To find out more information, and be kept up to date with the latest events, please visit and

Essex-wide COVID-19 vaccination website launches, providing up-to-date information on the vaccination programme

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The NHS in Essex launched a new website this week, giving residents the latest information and advice on the local COVID-19 vaccination programme. Set up by Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership (MSEHCP), it can be accessed by visiting

The easy-to-use website provides a wealth of reliable and useful information about vaccination, ensuring residents have the most up-to-date information available, including:

  • Guidance on who is currently eligible for the vaccine
  • Where to go for your vaccination
  • How to book a vaccination appointment
  • Information about attending your appointment
  • Advice about symptoms and getting yourself tested for Covid-19

The site also provides information in different languages along with a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ) section, covering the most commonly asked questions. There’s also information about self-care, volunteering and local support.

With so much information about COVID-19 and the vaccines available, it’s sometimes difficult to know where to go to find the most up-to-date information; the site acts as a ‘one stop shop’ of valuable information, as well as serving to dispel some of the inaccurate and sometimes confusing myths surrounding vaccination.

Anthony McKeever, Executive Lead for Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership & Joint Accountable Officer for the five CCGs, said:
‘Our priority is to get people vaccinated safely and efficiently and provide Essex residents with the most up-to-date and correct information and guidance around Covid-19 vaccination. This website will help to cut through some of the misinformation and concerns people may have around the vaccine and reassure people that they are doing the right thing’.

The website will be updated regularly.