We continue to make good progress as we deliver the biggest vaccination programme in the NHS history. More than 70,768 Wandsworth residents have received their first dose and across South West London we have vaccinated over 370,000 people. Vaccination data for South West London boroughs, parliamentary constituencies and local authority wards continues to be published nationally, you can see the break down on the NHS England website.
As we move forward with the COVID-19 vaccination campaign, we are keen to maintain the momentum. This weekend, the NHS began inviting people aged 56-59 to come for their COVID-19 vaccination. People in this age group, along with older adults can book their vaccination appointment online via the National Booking Service. Making an appointment is quick and simple online, or by phoning 119 if you can’t use the internet. As we move on to new age groups, the National Booking Service has begun carefully trialling a text message service for COVID-19 vaccination invitations and reminders, in addition to the letters that are currently sent to eligible people. Over 400,000 people aged 55 or in receipt of Carer’s Allowance will be the first to receive text message invites this week.
On Monday we were pleased to announce the opening of our fourth community vaccination centre, located at Battersea Arts Centre. The Arts Centre has become one of only a handful of creative vaccine venues, playing a pivotal role in vaccinating eligible residents. NHS staff and volunteers have taken over the Council Chamber in the old Battersea Town Hall, while visual, digital and interactive installations have been designed to give a creative and inclusive welcome to members of the public. Some of this work will be made available to experience online via bac.org.uk/discover
As we marked International Women’s Day, also on Monday, we took a moment to reflect on the incredible women who have worked so hard and contributed so much to our COVID-19 vaccine efforts. From Professor Sara Gilbert and Dr Özlem Türeci, who helped lead the development of the AstraZeneca (Oxford) and Pfizer vaccines, to the GPs, nurses, matrons, and support staff running our vaccination sites across South West London. The dedication of these incredible women is bringing us so much closer to achieving a way out of the pandemic and a return to a more normal life.