COVID-19 vaccines

What you need to know about COVID-19 vaccinations

We are working closely with our local NHS colleagues to help make the vaccination programme a success. Please return to this page, follow us on social media or sign up for our Bexley Magazine Extra email newsletter for the latest updates.

Vaccinations – 40 or over booking

You can book your vaccination appointment online if any of the following apply. You do not need to wait to be contacted by the NHS.

  • you are aged 40 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 the main carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus

Anyone who does not fall into the above categories should wait to be contacted by the NHS for their vaccination when it is their turn.

Who is clinically extremely vulnerable?

Find out who is considered at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable), how you find out if you're on the list and what to do if you are at www.nhs.uk

Priorities

The priority order for vaccination was decided by the national Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, with the primary aim of preventing deaths from COVID-19, as well as protecting the health and social care staff and the systems in which they work.

  1. older people's care home residents and staff
  2. all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
  3. all those 75 years of age and over
  4. all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
  5. all those 65 years of age and over.
  6. adults under 65 years of age at high or moderate risk due to medical conditions; including people newly added to the shielding list in February, informal or unpaid carers and any adult on the GP Learning Disability Register
  7. all those 60 years of age and over
  8. all those 55 years of age and over
  9. all those 40 years of age and over
  10. key workers and the rest of the population

In line with national targets, the first vaccine dose was offered to everyone in Bexley in the top four priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. In mid-February priority groups 5 and 6 became the main focus with the number of people eligible within priority group 6 increased to include unpaid or informal carers and people registered with their GP as having a learning disability.

All those 50 and over in Bexley have now been offered their first vaccine and those who are 40 and over can now book their coronavirus vaccination online or call 119 without needing an invitation.

Like any medicine, vaccines are highly regulated products. There are checks at every stage in the development and manufacturing process, and continued monitoring once they have been authorised and are being used.

More information on the COVID-19 vaccine - South East London CCG

Let’s talk vaccine community campaign

Bexley’s Let’s talk vaccine bus and vaccine champions will be out and about in the Borough to ensure that everyone in our community has all the information they need on the vaccine, from a trusted source. Residents with no symptoms will be able to get tested on the vaccine bus using free rapid lateral flow tests that provide results within an hour.

The bus will operate from 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday only and will be at the following locations with vaccine champions knocking on residents' doors in the immediate area:

  • 17 - 19 May - St Michael’s Community Centre, Wrotham Rd, East Wickham DA16 1LS
  • 20 - 21 May - Bishop Ridley Church, The Green, Falconwood DA16 2PG
  • 24 - 26 May - St Michael’s Community Centre, Wrotham Rd, East Wickham DA16 1LS
  • 27 - 28 May - Bishop Ridley Church, The Green, Falconwood DA16 2PG

Bexley’s Primary Care Network COVID–19 Vaccination Programme

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Who is being offered the vaccine right now?

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccines to people most at risk from coronavirus. The vaccine is being offered in some hospitals and hundreds of local vaccination centres run by GPs. It’s being given to:

  • people aged 40 and over
  • those who are categorised as clinically extremely vulnerable (high risk) or clinically vulnerable (moderate risk – this now includes all people on the GP Learning Disability Register)
  • carers (if you receive a Carers Allowance you can book online, unpaid carers can get the vaccine through their GP)
  • people who live or work in care homes
  • frontline health and social care workers (social care workers can book their vaccine through their employer or GP

To be invited for a vaccination you will need to be registered with a GP surgery in England. You can register with a GP if you do not have one.

Where in Bexley is this being offered?

We are delivering local vaccination services through our Primary Care Networks (PCNs) to the JCVI cohorts. In Bexley, there are 4 PCNs which are made up of groupings of GP practices and community services in Bexley:

  • Erith Health Centre is being used to facilitate vaccinations for the practices that make up the North Bexley PCN; Lakeside Medical Centre, Northumberland Heath Medical Centre, Bulbanks Medical Centre, Riverside Surgery, Crayford Town Surgery, Slade Green Medical Centre, Bexley Medical Group and Belvedere Medical Centre
  • Bursted Wood Surgery is being used to facilitate vaccinations for practices that make up the APL PCN; Lyndhurst Medical Centre, The Albion Surgery, Plas Meddyg Surgery and Bursted Wood surgery
  • Queen Mary’s Hospital is being used to facilitate vaccinations for practices that make up the Frognal PCN; Woodlands Primary Care, Station Road Surgery, The Barnard Medical Group, Sidcup Medical Centre
  • Westwood Masonic is being used to facilitate vaccinations for practices that make up the Clocktower PCN; Bellegrove Road Surgery, Bexley Group practice, Dr Thavapalan & Partners, The Westwood Surgery, Welling Medical Practice.

We have four local pharmacies offering vaccination services, which can be booked through the national booking service:

  1. Aspire Pharmacy in Sidcup
  2. Day Lewis Pharmacy in Erith
  3. Warren Pharmacy in Bexley
  4. Tesco in Sidcup

We also have a weekly walk-in clinic (no appointment necessary) for health and social care staff and all patients registered with a practice in North Bexley in the eligible cohorts. This is every Friday between 1:30pm to 4:30pm at the Erith Health Centre.

Can I book my vaccination appointment without a letter for the NHS?

If you are aged 40 and over, an eligible frontline health or social care worker, a main carer for someone at high risk from COVID-19, have a learning disability, are clinically extremely vulnerable (high risk) or clinically vulnerable (moderate risk) - you can book your vaccine online at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or call 119 without needing an invitation.

How will residents registered with a GP surgery which is located in Bexley but is a branch surgery of a GP practice located in a neighbouring borough be offered or have access to the vaccine?

The PCN covering the main branch GP practice will provide the vaccination for all patients registered with branch surgeries. For example, a Bexley resident registered with a Greenwich branch GP surgery located in Bexley will be offered the vaccine by the corresponding Greenwich PCN, in line with the JCVI priority cohorts.

Will vaccines still be provided and is it safe for me to still attend my appointment during the national lockdown?

Yes. Getting the COVID-19 vaccine, or any other vaccine is an important medical appointment and so is within the rules wherever you live. Vaccinations will continue as normal in all areas through the national lockdown and beyond.

If you have booked or are offered an appointment, please attend it. The place that has your vaccine will keep you safe from COVID-19 through a range of measures including cleaning and disinfecting and having social distancing in waiting areas. Please also wear a face-covering ensuring that it covers both your mouth and nose to your appointment.

You should also take the usual steps to minimise your risk as you travel to your appointment.

What vaccines are currently available in Bexley?

Across south east London, the Pfizer vaccine and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine are currently available.

What are you doing to avoid waste?

We are actively engaging with patients to remind them that when they receive their COVID vaccination appointment, to only turn up five minutes before their slot to avoid waiting a long time or standing in queues. Everyone who has an appointment will get the vaccine. PCNs have standby lists of patients they can call on to avoid wastage.

Does the vaccine contain any egg or animal products?

The Pfizer vaccine and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines do not contain any animal products or egg. The British Islamic Medical Association have produced a helpful guide for the Muslim community.

What should I do if I am pregnant?

Those who are pregnant should speak to a healthcare professional such as an obstetrician, midwife or GP team before booking their first dose appointment. The current recommendation is that those who are pregnant in eligible cohorts who have yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, should be offered the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine or Moderna vaccine.

Is there any evidence to suggest the vaccine makes you infertile?

There is no evidence that the COVID-19 vaccine has any impact on fertility.

How important has the role of volunteers been in helping deliver the vaccination programme?

We could not do without them. In Bexley, hundreds of people have come forward to volunteer their time. They are greeting patients at the door and checking temperatures. They are guiding patients to book in at reception and to clinic rooms. They are helping us keep patient flows running smoothly so we can get as many vaccinations done as possible but keep socially distanced. Our thanks to everyone who is giving up their time to help us.

What engagement has there been with faith leaders?

We have run online events (webinars) regularly with local community leaders since the beginning of the year, and this has included local MPs and councillors, community champions, members of the voluntary sector and faith leaders. These meetings have been incredibly useful for ensuring the right information is being communicated locally, and have been well received by those who attended. We would like to thank the Bexley Interfaith Forum for helping us engage in such a positive way with local faith leaders.

When can residents expect to be contacted for their second jab please i.e. how much notice will they be given?

The second dose will be offered approximately 12 weeks after the first. Patients will be contacted and offered an appointment in the same was as they were for their first, once vaccination sites have confirmed vaccine supply dates.

Should I get vaccinated if I have already had COVID or I am suffering from ‘Long COVID’?

It is important that you have the vaccine even if you have already had COVID. And if you are suffering the symptoms of 'long COVID' it is still safe to have the vaccine.

Can I still get the virus if I have been vaccinated?

The vaccine reduces significantly the risk that you will catch COVID, but it is possible that you can still transmit the virus to others after vaccination even if you do not get the disease. And so after being vaccinated (even after the second dose) you will still need to follow public health measures like ‘Hands-Face-Space’ and wearing a face mask.

40 and over FAQ

Does this mean people can turn up at vaccination services without an appointment?

No. People will still need to make an appointment in advance before going to any vaccination service. This is important because booking slots are carefully managed to allow for social distancing and the number of appointments is based on the supply available that day.

Do I need to know my NHS number to use the booking website/phone line?

No. It’s easier if you do have your NHS number, but if you don’t both the NHS booking website and phone line can still book appointments using other details, provided you are registered with a GP practice.

You can find your NHS number on the NHS App or at www.nhs.uk/find-nhs-number.

If I’ve already had my first dose will I be able to book my second in this way?

No. You will only be able to book if our records show you have yet to have your first dose. If you have already had your first dose, please wait for the NHS to contact you about your second.

What if I don’t live close to one of the large Vaccination Centres?

The National Booking Service also handles booking for pharmacy-led vaccination services, of which there are around 200 across the country. Only a small number of people don’t live within travelling distance of at least one of these services.

Alternatively, you can also choose to wait to be contacted by your local GP services. If they haven’t been in contact already, this will be soon.

Does the NHS have the capacity and supplies available if lots of people now book?

The vast majority of people in these groups have already either had their first dose or are booked in to be vaccinated shortly.

The NHS is confident that the supplies and booking slots are available to accommodate the expected number of people who may now come forward.

Why have I not been contacted by anyone about a vaccination?

If you are 45 or over or on the Shielded Patient List, then it is likely that you have been contacted by the NHS already. If you haven’t, this could be for a number of reasons but is most likely to be because you are not registered with a GP or have recently moved, and we, therefore, don’t have your contact details.

If you have never registered with a GP or haven’t been to a GP for a number of years, we would recommend speaking with your local practice about registering.

As well as getting access to Covid-19 vaccines, being registered with a GP also means you are invited to important health checks such as for cancer or heart disease and can access care easier when you need it.

More information on registering with a GP is available at www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery/.

How do I get an NHS number?

You may already have an NHS number but just don’t know it. If you don’t know your NHS number, you can find out if you have one and what it is at digital.nhs.uk/services/nhs-number.

If you don’t have an NHS number this is likely to be because you are not registered with a GP. If this is the case, we would recommend speaking with your local practice about registering.

As well as getting access to Covid-19 vaccines, being registered with a GP also means you are invited to important health checks such as for cancer or heart disease, and can access care easier when you need it.

More information on registering with a GP is available at www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/gps/how-to-register-with-a-gp-surgery/.

What if I book an appointment through the NHS website or 119 and I need to rearrange it?

If you need to rearrange an appointment that you booked through the NHS website, you can do this through the ‘manage your appointments’ section on the booking page.

If you booked through 119, you can also ring to rearrange your appointment.

If you can’t attend your appointment for any reason, please cancel or rearrange it so that the appointment slot can be given to someone else who needs it.

Can I still book if I previously had an appointment but didn’t attend or cancel it?

Yes. Only those who have had a vaccination recorded are marked on our system and are therefore unable to book again.

A letter came to my home but it was for someone else. Can I still use it to book an appointment?

No. Unless you are aged 45 or over or on the Shielded Patients List you will not be able to book an appointment.

If you receive a letter for someone who does not live at your address anymore, please return to sender in the usual way so that our records can be updated.