West Berkshire Council

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find information about community support and our services during the coronavirus pandemic, on our information for residents pages, our information for businesses pages, and our community support hub page which has guidance to help coordinate community organisations.

See a summary of our Local Outbreak Control Plan and read our frequently asked questions. 

COVID-19 Vaccination Programme

The roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine across Berkshire is administered by the NHS.

In Berkshire West, which covers Reading, West Berkshire and Wokingham council areas, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is responsible for this vaccination programme. The CCG is working with Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation TrustRoyal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, South Central Ambulance Service and the councils to ensure people living and working in the area are provided with the most appropriate, relevant and high quality healthcare services.

 

Vaccination News Update from our NHS colleagues

 

Information last updated on 8 March 2021

Booking a vaccine appointment is now possible online
It is now possible for eligible individuals to book a vaccine appointment online at:
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/.

At this stage, people who can book an appointment include those who are:

  • you are aged 56 or over
  • you are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
  • you are an eligible frontline health or social care worker
  • you have a condition that puts you at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
  • you have a learning disability
  • you are a main carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus

Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week.  

Adults with learning disabilities offered Covid-19 vaccine
The Covid-19 vaccine is now being offered to adults who have a learning disability. In order to get the vaccine, people with a learning disability must be on the Learning Disability Register (list kept by GPs).  If these individuals discover that they are not on the register, they should ask their GP to add their name. Visit the NHS England website for more information about the Covid-19 vaccine for those with a disability.

Covid-19 Vaccines: Fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding
Public Health Berkshire has added a fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding section on their vaccination page

If you are trying to conceive, there is nothing to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines will affect your fertility.  Also, NHS advice states that women of childbearing age do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination, as it is not possible for the vaccine to give you or your baby Covid-19. The Government has also issued guidance which states that pregnancy does not have to be avoided after taking the Covid-19 vaccination and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives has provided a statement in support of the guidance.

If you are pregnant, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has said that the vaccines have currently not been tested in pregnancy, so those who are pregnant should not have the Covid-19 vaccine until more information is available. Visit Public Health Berkshire's vaccination page for more information.

Reading's Madejski Stadium now open
Reading's Madejski Stadium opened on Monday 22 February as the latest national mass vaccination centre. The centre will be able to provide thousands of Covid-19 vaccines each week, working through the prioritisation lists set out by the Government's Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust is the lead provider for large scale vaccination centres across Berkshire West, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and they are running the site.

Vaccination data
The NHS is now publishing weekly data on the number of people who have received their vaccine dose: Statistics » COVID-19 Vaccinations (england.nhs.uk). See more information about this data in the National Vaccinations Data section lower down this page.


Booking options for vaccinations in West Berkshire - FAQs

Question: I have received a letter asking me to book my appointment via the website - why doesn't the vaccination centre at the racecourse come up on the list?

  • Answer: They are a GP led site and contact patients directly to book their appointments, so do not appear as an option on the national website that these letters direct you to book through.

Who is the NHS calling in for their appointments?

  • Patients in cohorts 1-4 (aged over 70 or Clinically Extremely Vulnerable) should by now have been offered a vaccination. If anyone thinks they have been missed they should contact their GP surgery.
  • Mass vaccination sites are inviting (as of 8 March 2021):
    • patients aged 56 or over
    • patients at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
    • eligible frontline health or social care workers
    • patients with a condition that puts you at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
    • patients who have a learning disability
    • patients who are a main carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus
  • PCN** sites have been asked to focus their efforts on inviting JCVI* cohort six, which includes a wider group of people at higher clinical risk, including carers and young adults in residential settings.
  • If any patient is unable to travel to a mass vaccination centre they should contact their GP surgery via email on their website.
  • See also information above on how eligible people can make a booking appointment directly.

*JCVI = Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation

**PCN = Primary Care Network

What health conditions are included in cohort 6?

  • Adults aged 16 to 65 years in an at-risk group which includes:
  • Chronic respiratory disease
  • Chronic heart disease and vascular disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Chronic neurological disease, including severe or profound learning disability
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Immunosuppression
  • Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen
  • Morbid obesity
  • Severe mental illness
  • Younger adults in long-stay in-patient, nursing and residential care settings
  • Adult carers
  • Those who are in receipt of a carer's allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person, someone who has a severe mental illness or whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill

How is the NHS identifying carers?

  • The NHS will work with a team from Council and the voluntary sector to identify carers. Carers can also register as a carer using a form on their GP's website.

What order will group 6 be invited in?

  • GPs are prioritising patients using a combination of clinical judgement and age (oldest to youngest), calling in eligible household members together where possible.

National Vaccinations Data

National figures on the COVID vaccine

Information on the number of COVID-19 vaccinations provided by the NHS in England will be published weekly every Thursday at 2pm: Statistics » COVID-19 Vaccinations (england.nhs.uk). The data comes from the National Immunisation Management Services (NIMS), which is the system of record for the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme in England. As of 25 February the weekly data reports now include data at a local authority level, and at an MSOA (Middle Super Output Area) level.

 


Getting a COVID-19 Vaccine

Groups of GPs (known as Primary Care Networks) are working together to vaccinate patients, so some people will be invited to a different location for their vaccination and not necessarily their GP surgery.

Your GP will either call you or send a letter inviting you to your vaccination appointment. In addition, it is now possible for eligible individuals to book a vaccine appointment online.  For more information on who is eligible and to book an appointment, please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/.

Please do not call the GP or go to a vaccination site without an invitation or appointment booking.

Residents in West Berkshire can join the Newbury Vaccination Centre Facebook Page that has been set up by the CCG for up to date information.


Why Should You Get a COVID-19 Vaccine?

The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines are safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.

Even if you are fit and healthy, you are still at risk of getting COVID-19 and members of the ethnic minority community are at a greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

Getting COVID-19 can affect your heart health, breathing and can cause long-term fatigue so it's best to protect yourself and get vaccinated.

People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing complications from coronavirus so in order to reduce your risk you should get vaccinated.

It's important to think about how COVID-19 could affect others, like your loved ones, staff working in the NHS and the community - play your part in protecting others and get vaccinated.

Most COVID-19 vaccine side effects are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:

  • a sore arm where the needle went in
  • feeling tired
  • a headache
  • feeling achy
  • feeling or being sick

If you get any of the side effects above you can take painkillers such as paracetamol.

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus and will let you know when it's your turn to have the vaccine. It's important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.

The vaccine does not provide 100% protection from the virus, but the way to reduce everyone's risk is to break the chains of transmission and drive down the COVID-19 cases.

The second dose of the vaccine provides even better and longer-lasting protection, so it's really important that everyone gets the second jab. However, even after you have had both doses of the vaccine, you could still give COVID-19 to someone else and the chains of transmission will continue, so please follow the rules.


Vaccination Sites

There are a number of different ways you could be vaccinated:

  • Local vaccination sites (run by GPs in West Berkshire, Wokingham and Reading). GPs are also delivering the vaccine directly to care homes for their residents and staff.
  • Hospital sites for health and social care staff
  • Care homes
  • Pharmacy sites (these will be available in the future)
  • National mass vaccination sites

All vaccination sites have parking on site or nearby. The public car parks will have a charge.

Local Vaccination Sites

In West Berkshire, Wokingham and Reading, all GP-led sites are now operational and will continue to do so subject to availability of the vaccines. As a result they are now offering vaccines to all residents over the age of 80 with the aim of completing this work by the end of January.

All GPs are involved in the roll-out of the vaccination programme, through Primary Care Network GP-led sites across the county.

Some vaccinations are being delivered at GP surgeries but the majority are being delivered at vaccination hub sites as shown below:

West Berkshire Local Vaccination Sites

  • The Boathouse Surgery, Rosewood Hall, Whitchurch Road, Pangbourne, RG8 7DP 
    • This is a partnership of 3 GPs: Pangbourne, Mortimer and Burghfield

Wokingham Local Vaccination Sites

  • Wargrave Surgery, Victoria Road, RG10 8BP
    • This is a partnership of 4 GPs: Wargrave surgery, Loddon Vale surgery, Parkside surgery, Woodley Centre surgery
  • Swallowfield Surgery, Village Hall, The Street, Swallowfield, RG7 1QY
    • This is a partnership of 2 GPs: Swallowfield surgery, Finchampstead surgery
  • Woodley Centre Surgery, 1st Floor, 6 Headley Road, Woodley, RG5 4JA
    • This is a partnership of 4 GPs: Woodley Centre surgeryWargrave surgery, Loddon Vale surgery, Parkside surgery
  • Chalfont Surgery, Salvation Army Hall, Chalfont Close, Lower Earley, RG6 5HZ
    • This is a partnership of 2 GPs: Brookside group practice, Wilderness Road surgery
  • Wokingham Medical Centre, Bradbury Centre, 23 Rose Street, Wokingham, RG40 1XS
    • This is a partnership of 2 GPs: Wokingham Medical Centre, Woosehill Medical Centre

Reading Local Vaccination Sites

  • Tilehurst Village Surgery, 92 Westwood Road, Reading, RG31 5PP
    • This is a partnership of 4 GPs: Tilehurst Village Surgery, Chancellor House Surgery, Grovelands Medical Centre, Westwood Road Health Centre
  • Circuit Lane Surgery, 53 Circuit Lane, Reading, RG30 3AN
    • This is a partnership of 3 GPs: Circuit Lane The Potteries, Western Elms surgeries
  • Reading University Medical Centre, 9 Northcourt Avenue, Reading, RG2 7HE
    • This is a partnership of 2 GPs: University Health Centre, Whitley Villa Surgery
  • Emmer Green Surgery, 4 St Barnabas Road, Emmer Green, Reading, RG4 8RA
    • This is a partnership of 2 GPs: Emmer Green surgery, Balmore Park
  • Garden Hall of Watlington House, entrance opposite 71 South Street, Reading, RG1 4RA
    • This is a partnership of 11 GPs: Abbey Medical Centre, Chatham Street, Eldon Road, Pembroke, Russell Street, Reading Walk-In-Centre,  Kennet, London Street, Longbarn Lane, Milman Road, South Reading and Shinfield Medical Practice

Hospital Sites for Health and Social Care Staff

  • Berkshire Hospitals Foundation Trust (BHFT), Wokingham Hospital, Barham Road, Wokingham, RG41 2RE
  • Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust, Pharmacy Department, Craven Road, Reading, RG1 5AN

Care Homes

  • GPs will be arranging to visit care homes and vaccinate residents and staff

Pharmacy Sites

There aren't any pharmacy sites across Berkshire West. Further sites are being commissioned by the NHS and more information will be made available in the coming weeks.


National Mass Vaccination Sites

In addition to the local vaccination sites, the NHS is setting up some national mass vaccination sites that patients will be invited to attend.

Currently, the sites closest to Berkshire are:

  • Madejski Stadium, Reading
  • Salt Hill Activity Centre, Slough
  • Ashton Gate Stadium, Bristol
  • Bournemouth International Centre, Dorset
  • Epsom Racecourse, Surrey
  • Excel Centre, London

Travelling to the Sites

Letters from the NHS explaining the booking process have begun to be sent to people aged 80 or over who live 30 to 45 minutes' drive from one of the new national sites.

If you are unable to travel to your COVID-19 vaccine appointment by car you may wish to consider other transport options.

The public bus network in West Berkshire and surrounding areas may be able to assist in getting you to your appointment. You can find out more about routes and timetables on the Plan Your Journey and Find a Timetable on the council's website.

Great Western Railway runs train services locally, their website contains information on services that are currently operating.

Traveline can help you look at public transport options and includes a journey planner.

Local Taxi operators may also be able to assist with getting you to your appointment.

Community Transport Operators are also available to assist with getting you to medical appointments. A list of local operators can be found in the travel guide on the Plan Your Journey and Find a Timetable on the council's website.

If you are still finding it difficult to travel to or from your vaccine appointment then contact West Berkshire Council's Community Support Hub on: westberksbct@westberks.gov.uk or call: 01635 503579 to ask for assistance/advice. The Council may be able to help.


Useful Contacts and Other Information

The full list of groups to be prioritised for the vaccination is:

  • Residents in a care home for older adults and their carers
  • All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  • All those 75 years of age and over
  • All those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  • All those 65 years of age and over. All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  • All those 60 years of age and over
  • All those 55 years of age and over
  • All those 50 years of age and over

Whilst the vaccine has met all quality controls, it is not recommended for some people:

  • Anyone with a history of severe reactions or allergies
  • Children (with some exceptions). The vaccine hasn't been tested in younger children yet
  • Please discuss with your local GP for further advice and information regarding whether or not should you receive a vaccination.

Pregnancy and fertility: If you are trying to conceive, there is nothing to suggest that Covid-19 vaccines will affect your fertility.  Also, NHS advice states that women of childbearing age do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination as it is not possible for the vaccine to give you or your baby Covid-19.  The Government has also issued guidance which states that pregnancy does not have to be avoided after taking the Covid-19 vaccination and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives has provided a statement in support of the guidance. Public Health Berkshire has added a fertility, pregnancy and breastfeeding section on their vaccination page; click here for more information.

Other vaccines are being developed. They will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

Visit the GOV.UK or NHS website for the most up-to-date information.


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