Merton Covid-19 vaccination programme

The NHS in Merton has made a strong start in rolling out the biggest vaccination programme in its history. Our priority remains vaccinating the most vulnerable people in our communities and our front-line health and care professionals.

Everyone has an important part to play to help us with this programme of work

  • The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.
  • When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments.
  • Please don’t go to a vaccination site without an appointment. Appointments are only available by invitation – you can’t request one from your GP – so please be patient and wait to be contacted.
  • Please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives – hands, face, space.

How and where are we delivering the vaccine to Merton residents

When it’s your turn to be vaccinated, the NHS will contact you and invite you to a local Merton centre. You may also receive a letter from the National Booking System, where you can book an appointment directly or wait for your local GP to contact you.

GP vaccination sites

GP practices across Merton are working together to carry out vaccinations at dedicated vaccination sites. This means that you may be invited to a vaccination site to receive your vaccination, rather than your GP surgery.

  • Please don’t contact your GP to request an appointment.
  • Please don’t go to a vaccination site if you don’t have an appointment.

It’s very important that you don’t go to a vaccination site without an appointment. Appointments are only available by invitation – you can’t request one from your GP – so please be patient and wait to be contacted by your GP or the NHS.

St George’s Hospital vaccination hub

St George’s Hospital was one of the country’s first vaccine hubs and safely secured its place in history by vaccinating one of the first people in the world against COVID-19 on Tuesday 8 December 2020. St George’s Hospital is currently focussing on vaccinating vulnerable hospital patients and patients who are aged 70 and above front line health and care staff.

Next steps to further expand the programme

Large vaccination centres

  • As well as hospital hubs and primary care sites, we are working to bring on line community vaccination centres to help further expand our capacity to deliver the vaccine programme.
  • You will have seen the announcement in the national media about large vaccination centres, which are now operational. We are pleased that some Merton residents who are over 80 have received letters from the National Booking Services where they can book an appointment directly into one of these vaccination centres if they are available, our closest centres at the moment are the Excel Centre and Epsom Racecourse. Large vaccination centres will operate 7 days a week. As more large vaccination centres come online there will be more choice for local people.  
  • Across South West London we have been running a large scale campaign to recruit teams to manage and deliver vaccines at these centres across our six boroughs. We are also running a volunteer recruitment campaign which has generated a good response.

Who is being prioritised to receive vaccines first

The government has set out the challenging ambition of vaccinating all those in the top four priority groups by February 2020 as set out by the Joint Vaccination and Immunisation Committee (JVCI) (link to this)

At this time, the vaccine is being offered to:

  • care home residents and people who work in care homes
  • people aged 70 and over
  • health and care workers

We expect most over 80s to have been offered the vaccine by the end of January, though over 80s will be able to come forward and receive the vaccine throughout the Covid-19 vaccination programme.

Find out how the over 80s are getting the vaccine

Read more about why some people are being prioritised

Care home staff, residents and front line care workers

  • Before the first vaccines were delivered in early December we began to work with care homes to reach out to care home staff as a top priority group.
  • Around 4,000 care home workers out of about 14,000 across south west London have come forward and we will continue to work hard to encourage them to do so.
  • We are working closely with council colleagues to coordinate vaccine appointments for front line social care workers including front line domiciliary and agency staff.

Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine approval and new guidance on the second dose

  • The approval of the UK-developed and manufactured Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine provides a major boost to our plans to offer protection to those who would benefit most as quickly as possible. 
  • This new vaccine is easier to transport and store, which means it is perfect for helping to vaccinate many more people in our communities, more residents in care homes, and the over 70s who are housebound in their own homes.
  • Some of our PCN sites will begin to receive supplies of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine from this week.
  • The Government has decided to increase the gap between the two doses of the COVID-19 vaccines from three to four weeks to up to three months.
  • This new guidance on the period between doses is important as it means that we will be to get the maximum benefit for the most people in the shortest possible time and will help save lives.
  • We will now be focusing on giving the first dose of the vaccine to as many people and front line health and care staff as possible.
  • Everyone is being asked to wear a face covering to their appointment.

How people are being invited to have their Covid-19 vaccine appointments

  • The NHS will continue to contact people directly to invite them to receive the vaccine – when it is their turn, they will receive an invitation for an appointment.
  • This may be via the phone, text message or letter from a Merton GP practice or a letter from the National Booking Service.
  • If you have received a letter inviting you to book a coronavirus vaccination, you can book it. Please do not try to book a vaccination if you have not received a letter.  You may also wait to be contacted by a Croydon GP if you cannot book a local vaccine appointment.
  • Patients who are housebound and would require a home visit will also be contacted directly by the NHS.  If those people who are housebound are offered an appointment at a centre, they should talk to their GP or respond to the contact details in their invitation.
  • As only a proportion of vaccination sites are live at this time, many over 70s will not yet have been contacted.
  • We expect most over 80s to have been offered the vaccine by the end of January, though over 80s will be able to come forward and receive the vaccine throughout the Covid-19 vaccination programme.
  • Everyone is being asked to wear a face covering to their appointment.

How we are talking to local people

  • The NHS in Merton has been building relationships with local community leaders in order to raise awareness of available NHS Services and community support, as well as support uptake of flu and Covid vaccines.
  • Since October we have delivered 9 community events involving 160 people from priority groups made vulnerable by the pandemic.
  • Conversations with community partners are ongoing to firm up dates for an additional 18 workshops or presentations to answer questions and support uptake of the Covid vaccine.
  • We are also working with partners in Public Health to support vaccine uptake through its Covid Champions.

More information