Reading residents share views on vaccine jabs

Local people who've had their vaccine have praised well-run clinics but there are still concerns from people who haven't yet been contacted.
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Article updated 18 January 2021

Local people have been sharing positive feedback about getting the Covid vaccine from their Reading doctor’s surgery.

Five vaccination clinics have now been launched in neighbourhoods across the borough under joint working between doctors' surgeries.

Positive feedback from patients

Tilehurst Village Surgery (vaccine site for four surgeries)

“I was really impressed. In and out in less than 20 minutes!"

University Health Centre (vaccine site for two surgeries)

"The arrangements made at the University Health Practice were exemplary, with lots of volunteers guiding people at various points."

Circuit Lane Surgery (vaccine site for three surgeries)

“I took my mum today. Was so impressed with how well organised it was and how cheerful and helpful you all were.”

Emmer Green Surgery (vaccine site for two surgeries)

"My mother is a 90 year old Balmore Park patient and had her vaccine today at Emmer Green surgery. Thank you to all the staff and volunteers it was very well run. My mother commented on how kind and patient everyone was to her too."

Watlington House (vaccine site for 12 surgeries in central & south Reading)

"My parents had their vaccinations here on Saturday...they said the organisation was wonderful and they were guided through the whole process and were most impressed - thank you."

People have also been expressing concerns about different start dates between surgeries for first jabs:

  • "I’d love to know why the surgery has such a delay in getting hold of the vaccination when some other surgeries in Berkshire have already administered the first dose?”
  • "My in-laws are in their 80s and haven't heard anything yet."
  • "It's frustrating just waiting to hear about the first dose when others in other parts of the country managed to get both doses already.

Clinic start dates were staggered across Reading due to vaccine delivery dates outside of doctors' control or the time needed to set up sites with enough space.

Facebook pages and groups are now increasingly helping patients get quick answers to ongoing vaccine questions. At least four large surgeries are using their Pages to answer queries, many of which are asked by adult relatives of elderly people. This helps spread the word to many people at once and avoid the need to call busy surgery phone lines.

Neighbourhood Facebook groups in Caversham, central Reading and Tilehurst are also a popular place for the public to share knowledge and experiences. Healthwatch Reading has been posting in these forums to spread the most up-to-date information we have.

We've also urged the local clinical commissioning group (which oversees all GP surgeries in Reading) to improve overall communication about the Reading vaccination plans.

How one neighbourhood is getting answers

Balmore Park and Emmer Green surgeries in north Reading are working together to deliver vaccines for both its patients from the Emmer Green site.  Balmore Park has been answering queries from the public on its Facebook page, followed by more than 1,500 people.

Q: Should my 91 yr old mother have received a text yet?  
Q: What happens to people who get text messages to mobiles that aren't internet connected? They won't be able to follow the link in the text message to the online booking system for vaccine appointments? 
A: Those who couldn't manage it will be telephoned and booked...those who don't have a mobile will be phoned on their landline. No one will be left behind....Text messages will not have been sent to those that we know are housebound as these people will be done by a different team."

Q: How many people do you plan to vaccinate...I'm shielding and wondered if you'll have even got to category 4 by the end of February?
A: "So long as we receive the deliveries of vaccine we should do."

Q: 'Won't some elderly people have difficulties getting to Emmer Green, especially if they are self-isolating?
A: People with genuine difficulties will be referred to a social prescriber for help. "Please rest assured that we will not be leaving anyone vulnerable behind. This applies to both surgeries."

Q: Can I ask how does the surgery deal with leftover/unused vaccines?
A: "Absolutely no vaccine will be wasted. We have lists of the next in line to get the vaccine and will telephone them if there are any no shows."

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