Article updated 30 December 2020
GPs across Reading have begun vaccinating people against Covid 19, starting with elderly residents.
Half of Reading's primary care networks (PCNs) - groups of GP surgeries working together - started before Christmas using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. The other PCNs will start in January 2021 as doctors’ surgeries attempt to find suitable sites, organise enough staff and volunteers and await delivery dates.
The other major vaccine, developed by Oxford University and the Astra Zeneca drug company, was approved on December 30 but it is not yet known how soon this will get to Reading surgeries.
Regardless of which vaccine they give patients, venues must have room to let patients wait for 15 minutes after their injections to check they don't have severe allergic reactions, in order to follow guidance from the national medicines safety body.
Vaccination plans in our town
Tilehurst Primary Care Network (Tilehurst Village Surgery, Chancellor House Surgery, Grovelands Medical Centre and Westwood Road Health Centre): Launched first vaccinations in Reading on 15 December 2020, with Tilehurst Village being the vaccination site for patients from the four surgeries)
University PCN (University Health Centre and Whitley Villa Surgery): Started vaccinations before Christmas at the University site
Reading West PCN (The Potteries, Circuit Lane and Western Elms surgeries): Launched just before Christmas, vaccinating 1,037 people.
Reading Central PCN (Abbey Medical Centre, Chatham Street, Eldon Road, Pembroke and Russell Street surgeries and Reading Walk-In-Centre) and Whitley PCN (Kennet, London Street, Longbarn Lane and Milman Rd surgeries and South Reading and Shinfield Medical Practice): Planning to work together to vaccinate all patients from a local community venue from week beginning 11th January 2021. The venue has not yet been named.
Caversham PCN (Balmore Park and Emmer Green surgeries): Expects the vaccine to delivered in early 2021.
Surgeries have appealed to patients to be patient and wait to be contacted.
Balmore Park Surgery said: 'If you are expecting a vaccination, we know you will be keen to find out more but please do not contact the surgery to ask about it, as we will get in touch with you directly when it is your turn. Supplies of the first vaccine to be authorised are limited, so please be patient.’
Pembroke Surgey said: 'As the [Pfizer] vaccine has a very short shelf life, the appointment times will be limited to a 3 day period from when we take delivery – this date we have no control over. Once booked, please attend the appointment as we need to ensure vaccine is not wasted. Try as much as possible to adhere to your appointment time – the large numbers to be vaccinated mandate very careful management to avoid ‘gridlock’ as patients need to remain on site for 15 minutes post vaccination.'