Posted: 12.02.21 at 14:10 by Hannah Corfield
An extra phone number for over 70s to book their Covid jab has gone live today and will be open until Sunday.
The number is 01626 204920 and can be used 9am-5pm from Friday, February 12 until Sunday, February 14 only.
This service is for people in JCVI groups 1-4 only – over-70s, and people who have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable (which means they are on the shielding list).
Callers must live in Devon, but do not have to be registered with a GP.
If all the lines are busy, there will be the opportunity to leave a voice message with your number, and a call handler will ring back.
The handler will do their best to arrange an appointment at a vaccination centre convenient for you within the next few days, wherever possible.
People eligible for the jab can still use the national online booking service or call 119 (free, 7am-11pm, seven days a week), or contact their GP practice directly if they wish, or wait for their GP to contact them.
Darryn Allcorn, Devon’s lead chief nurse, who is responsible for the vaccination programme, said: “The aim of our temporary phone number this weekend is to help the over-70s and other people in priority groups access a vaccination if they would like one.
“Most practices use an out-of-hours service over the weekend so it may not be possible to get through on Saturday and Sunday. And we know some people are changing their mind about getting a vaccination, while others may not have been able to accept an invitation until now.
“There are appointments available across Devon so do get in touch if you’re eligible for a first dose.”
Vaccination appointments will still be available to people in groups 1-4 after the weekend. More information on arrangements for the next groups in the JCVI priority list is expected on Monday, 15 February.
Devon’s NHS says it’s on target to have vaccinated all the eligible people in priority groups 1-4 who wanted to take up a vaccine, by Sunday (February 14), in line with the Government’s aim.
According to the NHS's latest data, as of Sunday (February 7) more than 271,000 people had received a first dose across the county, with approximately 98% of people aged 75-79, and 95% of over-80s, having received a vaccination.
An average of about 12,000 vaccinations are currently being given every day in Devon.
Dr Alex Degan, the lead GP for the county's vaccination programme,and medical director for primary care in the county, said: “GPs and their teams, local authorities and volunteers have worked tirelessly together to vaccinate people in the top four priority groups in recent weeks.
“Thanks to their magnificent and selfless efforts in protecting vulnerable people, hundreds of thousands of people now rest safer from the threat of Covid-19 and we are on track to meet the Government’s ambition for priority groups.
“It is a remarkable achievement and I pay tribute to everyone who is involved in this lifesaving programme.”
The national booking service offers appointments at large vaccination centres or the selected community pharmacies that are offering the jab.
For some people, attending the large vaccination sites at Taunton Racecourse in Somerset and the Royal Cornwall Showground in Wadebridge, may be more convenient, and slots can be booked at these locations via the national booking service.