From this week, February 22 – the Coronavirus vaccination programme in Devon expands and people who are 65 years and over will be able to book an appointment.
GPs will be in contact with patients, and appointments are also available through the national booking system.
And people aged 16-64 with underlying health conditions will be contacted by their GP practice.
NHS Devon said ‘tens of thousands’ more people across the county will be contacted from this week, inviting them to make an appointment for their first coronavirus vaccination.
People aged 65 and over and those who are clinically vulnerable (JCVI priority groups 5 and 6), together with an expanded group of clinically extremely vulnerable people, are now in line to receive the life-saving jab.
NHS Devon said those with certain underlying health conditions are more vulnerable to illnesses and face an increased risk of severe illness or death from Coronavirus.
In this next phase, GPs in Devon have been asked to offer jabs to those over the age of 65 and people with underlying health conditions that make them clinically vulnerable – such as diabetes and respiratory, heart, kidney and liver disease.
Because of the size of the group practices are urging their patients not to contact them about an appointment.
GP practices hold data about each of their patients who fall into these groups and will contact them directly to arrange an appointment.
Unpaid carers will also be offered the chance to get vaccinated if they meet the national criteria set out by the Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations.
Sally Slade, local authority lead for coronavirus vaccinations in Devon, said: “Being called for the vaccine in this next phase will bring many unpaid carers a huge sense of relief, but carers should wait to be called to book an appointment.
“If you are an unpaid carer and your practice isn’t aware of your caring responsibilities, there will shortly be a local contact for you to register your details.
“They will collect your information and ensure your practice has this so that you will then be contacted as part of the vaccination programme if you are eligible.
“Please do not contact your practice directly.”
People aged 65 and over can book a vaccination at one of the vaccination centres using the national booking service here and can choose from large scale vaccination centres or selected local pharmacy services.
Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free, between 7am and 11pm, seven days a week.
Those unable to travel to a large site, or who would prefer to be vaccinated by their local GP, do not need to do anything – their practice will contact them directly to arrange an appointment.
Some people living locally have reported being the target of scams since the vaccination programme, said NHS Devon.
Devon GP Dr Trevor Avis said: “Please be cautious of potential scams and remember the most important message – the NHS will never ask you for your bank details.
“No one will show up at your home to vaccinate you without having contacted first. They will be wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment – such as a mask and apron – and they will have ID to prove who they are.”
The latest data published by the NHS shows some 342,397 people in Devon received a first vaccine dose between December 8 and February 14.
NHS Devon said it is estimated that at least 95 per cent of over-70s in the county have been vaccinated.
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