The UK’s national vaccination programme has made rapid progress since it began in December, with millions of vaccines already administered and hundreds of thousands more people getting them each day. For daily updates on the how the national programme is progressing, click here.
At its launch, the Government - on the advice of the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) - split the vaccination programme into 2 phases based on clinical need in order to increase its effectiveness and save lives.
The vaccination programme is now in Phase 2.
This phase targeted the top 9 priority groups. These groups were made up of people aged 50 and over, frontline health workers, carers, and individuals aged 16 and over who have underlying health conditions. Vaccination of Phase 1 groups was officially completed on 13 April. Vaccinations in this phase were delivered through three main routes - GPs, large vaccination centres and home visits.
If you believe you fall within one of these groups but have yet to secure an appointment for your first jab, you can still book an appointment. More information on this phase can be found here.
Phase 2 covers individuals aged 18 to 49. Currently people aged 18 and above - or within three months of their 18th birthday - are eligible to book an appointment.
You can book your appointment through the NHS vaccination portal here. These appointments will be for vaccinations at one of the large vaccination centres or pharmacies which are taking part in the programme and people will book the dates for both their first and second doses at the same time. You may receive a text from 'NHSvaccine' inviting you to book your vaccination appointments at a larger vaccination centre or pharmacy. The text will be sent to the phone number your GP surgery has listed for you and you may also get a letter a few days after.
For Phase 2, all vaccines will be booked in this way, rather than through GPs.
The national booking service has also been adapted to identify pregnant women so it will show sites and dates where Pfizer is available.
12-18 year olds
People aged 16 to 17 and 9 months can use the national booking system, walk-in clinics. to find a centre offering this service, click here. They are also now eligible for a second dose 12 weeks after their first. From Monday 22 November.
Children aged 12 to 15 will be offered 1 dose at their school setting or at a suitable walk-in centre. Those with underlying health conditions or living with people with an immunosuppressed person - will be contacted by the Kent and Medway Clinical Care Commission for arrangements to be made for two doses. More information can be found here.
In line with the guidance set out by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) on 14 September, the NHS vaccination programme will now invite eligible people, who had their second Covid-19 jab at least six months ago, for a top up.
Those eligible include:
- People living in residential care homes for older adults
- frontline health and social care workers
- people with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe Covid-19, as well as adult carers
- adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals
- anyone aged 40-years-old and over (from Monday 22 November).
People do not need to contact the NHS to arrange their booster vaccine; the NHS will be in touch when they become eligible for the jab. They will get a call or text from their local GP led site, or be invited by the National Booking Service, which has started issuing invitations.
Update: An invitation from the NHS is no longer needed to book a vaccine up to one month before a person's booster vaccine is due.
There are several large vaccination centres and participating pharmacy sites throughout Kent and in neighbouring parts of Sussex. A full list can be found here.
Appointments are subject to vaccine availability and national vaccination supplies faced constraints in April leading to an emphasis on providing second doses for patients in Phase 1. This can result in people finding they can only book appointments some distance away from their chosen centre, but as the national supply improves, more local appointments should come online.
The nearest large vaccination centre for West Kent is the Angel Sports Centre in Tonbridge and a service is also operated by Pharmacy2U at the Tunbridge Wells Army Reserve Barracks.
Other nearby pharmacy services include:
- Ticehurst Pharmacy
- Sevenoaks Pharmacy
- Field Pharmacy, East Peckham