Most vaccines in South West delivered in Devon

More than 150,000 vaccinations in Devon have been carried out, more than anywhere else in the South West.

Daniel Clark www.devonlive.com 

Latest NHS England figures, which provide the position as of January 24, shows that 157,181 vaccinations in the county had taken place, with 145,148 of them being the first dose.

The figures for Devon, which will have risen in the most recent days, are the highest number of vaccinations for any of the regions within the South West, and they show that 14.5 per cent of the population had received their first jab.

The statistics show that as of Sunday, of the 79,525 over 80s within Devon, 63,305 of them had received the first vaccine – a total of 79.6%, with 10,743 – 13.5% – having also had the second dose.

While the 79.6% figure is lower as a percentage of the total cohort than anywhere else in the South West other than Cornwall, Devon’s population of over 80s is significantly higher than every other region, more than double in some instances.

A total of 63,305 over 80s, and 81,835 under 80s, primarily those employed in health and social care settings, had received the first dose of the vaccination as of Sunday.

With the population of the Devon STP area being 999,049, the 145,148 who had received their first dose, means that as of Sunday, 14.5% of Devon’s residents had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Those numbers will have risen since.

And 95.4% of those in a care home have also had their first dose of the vaccine, with the only residents who haven’t being those in one of the 12 settings where an outbreak of Covid-19 currently exists.

Nick Ball, vice-chairman of the Devon CCG, told their board meeting on Thursday morning that ‘Devon was really strong in terms of the vaccination programme’.

He added: “I want to give thanks to all the staff across the CCG who have done a fantastic job in coping with the Covid crisis and standing up the massive task of the vaccine programme.”

Simon Tapley, Interim accountable officer for the CCG, added: “Even without the mass vaccination centres have been up and running, we recorded record numbers on Saturday.

“We are on schedule to hit the trajectory for the first four cohorts by the mid-February target and we are ahead of trajectory, so we are fairly confident we will hit that.”

While data only exists at a STP level at present, Dr Phil Norrey, Devon County Council’s chief executive, said that they had been promised that it would eventually be delivered down to a district level, and hopefully even the MSOA level as well.

Figures for each individual district have not been released, but at the Devon CCG board meeting, numbers for some of the vaccination centres were revealed, as well as progress in moving through the at risk groups.

Dr Simon Kerr, chair of the East Devon Locality, said that he was part of the team who had done several thousand vaccinations at the Exmouth Tennis Centre, and that they were through most of the over 80s and now onto those who are housebound, vulnerable and the over 75s.

He added that at the GP hub in St Thomas, they had done 4,100 jabs in the last 10 days, while in the Culm Valley area, they had issued around 5,000 vaccinations.

Dr David Greenwell, Clinical representative (southern), added that in his region, the vaccination programme going well, with them also into the over 75s with the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay doing around 1,100 vaccines a day.

Devon’s Director of Public Health, Steve Brown, had welcomed the success of the rollout of the vaccination, but has reminded people that they still need to follow the public health measures.

Mr Brown said: “I’ve heard various heart-warming stories of gratitude from people in the first priority groups who have recently had their initial coronavirus vaccination – descriptions of the relief they feel, and the promise of getting back to a normal life.

“It is indeed excellent news, but we need to remember that the vaccination is just part of the solution, rather than the cure itself.

“The vaccination protects those who have had it from becoming seriously ill with coronavirus. However, there is no evidence yet to suggest that the vaccination stops a person from actually catching the virus, nor therefore prevents them from transmitting the virus to others.

“Even when you have had the vaccination, you still need to follow the public health measures and continue to take steps to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.

“That means, keep up with social distancing, wearing of face coverings when in public spaces, and washing your hands properly and regularly.

“Please continue to stay at home and avoid unnecessary journeys out of the house.

“Remember if you are identified as a close contact of a person who has tested positive you will still need to self-isolate for 10 days, even if you have had the vaccine.

“If you’ve been vaccinated because you work in health or social care, you still need to be tested regularly to ensure that you’re not infectious, even if you show no symptoms.”

There are now five methods by which the vaccine is being rolled out across Devon.

All four of the county’s main hospitals – in Plymouth, Exeter, Torquay and Barnstaple – are giving the vaccination to priority groups in line with national guidance, while GP practices are working together in groups to set up local vaccination centres, and across the county, 20 centres are now in operation, serving all of Devon practices.

GP-led facilities are delivering the vaccine to residents and staff in care homes, while pharmacies have started to deliver the vaccine, with Westward Ho! being the first to come online.

And on Tuesday, the mass vaccination sites at Home Park in Plymouth, and Westpoint Arena just outside Exeter became operational with thousands of vaccines a day to be delivered.

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