ADVICE has been given to the local community by the NHS — about keeping safe and about waiting for vaccines.

The Covid vaccination programme is now underway on the Isle of Wight, with four GP-led vaccination centres and a hospital hub already set up. A sixth hub is soon to open at the Riverside Centre, in Newport.

Despite the effort to get the clinics up and running, the NHS said it is aware of frustrations people are feeling, if they have not yet been invited for their jab.

Dr Michele Legg, GP and clinical chair of NHS Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group,

said: “We understand that many people are very keen to be vaccinated as soon as is possible, and in time a vaccine will be available for everyone.

“However, at this point we are working our way through the priority groups, as identified by

the government scientific advisors — people in nursing homes and nursing home staff, the

over 80s, and some frontline health and care staff.

“While we cannot give people vaccination dates in advance, please be reassured the

NHS will be in touch with everyone who is eligible for the vaccination, as soon as we can.

“Regrettably, we have to ask people to be patient — we are not holding reserve stocks of the

vaccine and so cannot simply add in extra appointments — but everyone will be invited in due


“We absolutely understand that any wait is frustrating, but calling or messaging the practice

will not get you an appointment more quickly, and will take our staff away from their other


Anyone who hasn't registered with a GP, or who hasn't logged recent up-to-date contact details, such as a mobile phone number, should do so through the practice website.

The prioritisation order of vaccinations being delivered have been set nationally by the Joint

Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and not a decision that is made locally.

An open letter from the NHS was also issued today.

It said: "Covid-19 cases are rising. Local hospitals and GP practices are busier than ever before.

"There are huge pressures on NHS services, and we can only withstand those pressures if we all work together.

"The NHS is a fundamental part of every community. In every neighbourhood there are people relying on the NHS for care, and in every neighbourhood there are people who work in the NHS, delivering that care.

"The health of our communities, and the health of our NHS, are forever linked. If our communities struggle, the NHS struggles. If our communities thrive, the NHS thrives.

"That is why we are asking for your help.

"NHS staff are working flat out, at the most difficult of times.

"Frontline teams and support staff are doing everything they can, not only to treat people with Covid-19, but also to provide cancer care, screening, operations, care in the community, mental health services, and all of the non-urgent, urgent and life-saving treatments that people need, every day, in addition to delivering the biggest vaccination programme ever seen in England.

"Everyone – you, your family, your friends – can play a part in the effort to keep Hampshire and Isle of Wight safe and to support the NHS."

The NHS is asking people to do the following.

  • Stay at home, except in those circumstances where you have a legitimate reason to go out.
  • Make sure you do the right thing – washing your hands, covering your face, giving other people space – not just some of the time, but all the time.
  • Ventilate indoor spaces if someone in your home has the virus as this can help prevent transmission to other household members.
  • Hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds.
  • Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.
  • Space – stay 2m apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1m with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings).
  • The pandemic could be affecting your physical and mental health. Don’t forget there are a range of NHS services to support you: Visit 111 online for advice. It’s easy to use – visit Your local community pharmacy can also give help and advice. If you need urgent medical help, call 111 first. Contact your GP practice for advice. If it’s a life threatening emergency, call 999 immediately.

The statement continued: "Thank you for all your support. Thank you to all our staff working to make a difference, whether in hospitals, in the community, in mental health, supporting Covid testing or delivering the vaccine.

"Everything you do is helping to build a better year ahead. We feel so proud to work in health and care, and we want to support you during these most challenging of times."