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First vaccinations begin in Kent and Medway

Published: 08/12/2020

Following the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine, NHS Kent and Medway CCG has issued the following statement:

From Tuesday 8 December the first Kent and Medway residents will be vaccinated at William Harvey Hospital. The hospital is one of 50 across the country receiving the first supplies of the vaccine.

Nine primary care based vaccination services are being prepared to start vaccinations from Tuesday 15 December.

We have around one million people to vaccinate in Kent and Medway, each needing two doses of the vaccine. The programme will take several months to complete. It is a marathon, not a sprint.

More hospitals hubs, primary care services and large vaccination centres will open across Kent and Medway as further supplies of the vaccine become available.

Priority groups

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), an independent expert group, has recommended that the NHS offers these vaccines first to those at highest risk of catching the infection and of suffering serious complications if they catch the infection.

This includes older adults, frontline health and social care workers, care home residents and staff, and those with certain clinical conditions. When more vaccine becomes available, the vaccines will be offered to other people at risk as soon as possible.

The vaccine will be offered in age order to:

  • those aged over 80 years
  • those aged over 75 years
  • those aged over 70 years
  • adults on the NHS shielded patient list
  • those aged over 65 years
  • adults under 65 years with long term conditions (a full list is included in public leaflets).

Those aged 50-64 will be offered it later.  

The public can really help the NHS deliver this effectively to those who need it most. Our asks are:

  • we will contact you when it’s the right time to come forward, so please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine before then;
  • please act on your invite when it comes, and make sure you attend your appointments when you arrange them;
  • and of course, please continue to abide by all the social distancing and hand hygiene guidance, which will still save lives.

Public information

Public Health England have produced a range of public leaflets. Translations and alternative formats are in development. The online version of the information are available at:

Questions and answers:

When will further vaccination sites open in Kent and Medway?

This will depend on the national supply of the vaccine. We do not currently have timings for opening further sites but will provide updates to the public and stakeholders. The key message is that people will be contacted when they can get the vaccine.

Will the vaccine be available at every GP practice and pharmacy?

Groups of GP surgeries will be working together to provide the vaccine. At this stage we do not expect it to be available from every surgery; people may be invited to a clinic at another surgery in their area. We are aiming to make sure vaccine sites are spread across Kent and Medway. A service for housebound patients will also be developed.

Do people who have already had Covid need to get vaccinated?  

Yes, if they are in a priority group identified by JCVI. We don’t yet know how long the body stores immunity after a bout of Covid-19, so getting vaccinated is just as important for those who have already had it as it is for those who haven’t.  

Can people pick which vaccine they want?  

Any vaccines that are available will have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy, so people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get, it is worth their while. 

Can people pay for a COVID-19 vaccine privately or at a pharmacy?

No, the COVID-19 vaccination is only available through the NHS to eligible groups and it is a free vaccination.