4,000 Suffolk patients book their COVID-19 vaccination in first 24 hours

The first two out of five vaccination centres run by the Suffolk GP Federation to give COVID-19 jabs opened yesterday (Thurs) and two more became operational today, with a third tomorrow.

More than 4,000 patients booked their vaccination in the first 24 hours, of which 8 in 10 booked via a website.

The vaccination centres which opened yesterday are at Debenham Community Centre and Woodbridge Community Hall. Two more centres run by the Federation – at The Mix, Stowmarket, and the EpiCentre, Haverhill – became operational today (Fri) and a fifth, Trinity Park, Ipswich, will open tomorrow.. All five have the potential to open 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

Dr Ruth Bushaway, Medical Director of Suffolk GP Federation said “We’re really pleased with how it went yesterday at the vaccination centres at Debenham and Woodbridge. The staff and volunteers were brilliant and all worked well together to ensure a successful first day of vaccination.

“We were pleased to receive many positive comments from the patients who were grateful to be vaccinated, so spirits were high. It was quite an emotional experience for many of the patients because they realised how important it was to be given protection against this awful virus.

“The patients were over 80 and it was pleasing to find out how many of them had booked their appointment online, which is the easiest and quickest way to be vaccinated, rather than by phoning our booking line.”

Dr Bushaway added that a representative from NHS England visited the Debenham centre yesterday and remarked positively on how well the vaccination session was organised and the clear signage.

The first patients being invited for vaccination at the five centres are those over the age of 80.

Patients will be contacted directly and should not contact their GP surgery. If your GP surgery has your mobile phone number you will receive a text. It is genuine if it is from “NHS-NoReply” and also has an Ipswich booking line phone number.

Booking online is by far the fastest way to book. Please click on the link in the text message which includes a unique booking code.
Patients who struggle with using the internet should ask a family member or friend to help. The text message can be forward to a family member who will need the patient’s date of birth, postcode and a contact mobile to confirm the appointment time.

Appointments are released once vaccine delivery is confirmed. If you cannot see an appointment in the next week, please check again a few hours later.

If you do not have internet access, there will be a booking line number in the letter or text. This is very busy, so please be patient. Lines are busiest just after texts are sent.

Patients should be reassured that everyone will receive a vaccination. The Federation has a list and anyone who has not booked will be phoned over the next week. Patients are asked not to call the Federation or their practice.

Both appointments will be booked at the same time with a gap of 12 weeks between each jab.

The five vaccine centres will be used by patients from a total of 28 practices: Barham & Claydon; Burlington Road, Ipswich; Chesterfield Drive, Ipswich; Combs Ford; Deben Road, Ipswich; Debenham; Derby Road, Ipswich; Eye; Felixstowe Road, Ipswich; Framlingham, Framfield House, Woodbridge; Fressingfield; Glemsford; Hawthorn Drive, Ipswich; Haverhill Family; Holbrook & Shotley; Little St John’s, Woodbridge; Mendlesham; Needham Market; Norwich Road, Ipswich; Orchard Street, Ipswich; Dr Solway, Ipswich; Peninsula (Alderton & Aldeburgh); Ravenswood, Ipswich; Stowhealth, Stowmarket; Unity Healthcare (formerly Christmas Maltings), Haverhill; Wickham Market; and Wickhambrook.

* The Suffolk GP Federation has prepared a list of likely questions with answers here.

Zachary Luff, who was working today as a steward at the vaccination centre at the EpiCentre, Haverhill, is vaccinated against COVID-19 by Suffolk GP Federation nurse Lesley Pilbrow. As well as members of the public, staff from care homes, GP practices and the Federation are being vaccinated there.