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Patients still required to wear face coverings in GP practices and other healthcare settings after COVID-19 restrictions ease

Patients in Norfolk and Waveney will still be required to wear face coverings in GP practices and other healthcare settings when COVID-19 restrictions ease on Monday.

NHS guidance in healthcare settings has not changed, and patients who are not exempt from wearing a face covering should continue to wear one, follow social distancing and hand hygiene guidance. If patients are exempt from wearing a mask, a face shield may be offered as an alternative.

COVID-19 infection rates are rising which means its vitally important we don’t let our guard down against the virus. The virus has not gone away and wearing a face covering is an effective way of reducing transmission. It’s also really important that anyone who is eligible for a vaccine and hasn’t yet come forward does so without delay.

Dr Anoop Dhesi, a local GP and Chair of NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: “Throughout the pandemic our GP practices across Norfolk and Waveney have been working tirelessly to make our surgeries as safe as possible for all our patients and staff. We will continue to do so going forward.

"There will be no changes in health care settings from Monday 19th July - patients arriving at our surgeries will still need to still wear a mask, socially distance and use hand sanitiser and staff will continue to wear PPE.

“The virus has not gone away and case numbers have risen due to the spread of the Delta variant. Wearing a face covering is an effective way of preventing the spread of infection, proving to be particularly useful in busy or crowded indoor spaces.”

"We appreciate it can be frustrating but it’s important to understand we do see some very sick and vulnerable patients, some of whom are not able to have the COVID-19 vaccination due to their conditions. By continuing to take reasonable and sensible measures against the virus we are helping to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and providing patients with greater reassurance.”

Norfolk and Waveney continues to make excellent progress with vaccinations against COVID-19. A new web portal has been developed with our partners at Norfolk County Council which provides a quick and easy tool for people to find out where walk-in vaccine appointments are taking place across Norfolk and Waveney. For a list of the latest clinics visit https://apps.norfolk.gov.uk/WalkIn

Increased numbers of bookable appointments and walk-in slots are currently available to meet the demand from younger people. The walk-in clinics provide a good spread of first and second dose locations and options with local pharmacy sites also increasing the number of bookable appointments available closer to home.

Getting the vaccine is the single most important step we can take to protect ourselves, our families and our communities against COVID-19.  The vaccine has been tested by scientists and researchers world-wide and every vaccine has gone through thorough checks.

All NHS vaccines are highly effective against the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant and other forms of the virus circulating in the UK. A recent study showed they have reduced hospital attendance by 94%. The latest analysis from PHE and the University of Cambridge suggests that vaccines have so far prevented an estimated 7.2 million infections and 27,000 deaths in England alone.

NHS staff continue working hard to deliver the largest vaccination drive in our history, at the same time as providing care for everyone who needs it.

If you have attended a walk-in or pop-in session and already had an appointment booked via the national booking service (NBS), please remember to cancel it by going online or by calling 119. People wishing to rebook their second appointment are able to check availability via the NBS before cancelling and rescheduling their existing second dose appointment. 

If you receive an invitation, whether for your first or second dose, please do act on it as soon as possible. The NBS is open to everyone aged 18 and over who is registered with a GP in England. You do not have to be registered with a GP or have a NHS number to be vaccinated, but it is not yet possible to book an appointment via the NBS without one. For those not registered with a GP or without an NHS number, a growing number of walk-in and pop-up sites are available. Anyone in the UK can choose to register with a GP.

If you have it, please take with you your NHS number to help the vaccination team book you in quickly ( Please see here https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/online-services/find-nhs-number/ ).   But don’t worry if you don’t have an NHS number or are not registered with a GP / local doctor, you can still get vaccinated. 

You do NOT need to show identification (ID) to receive a COVID-19 vaccination and you do not need to give your full name or address.  It does not matter whether you are a UK citizen or what your immigration status is, how long you have been here or how long you expect to stay. 

Anyone aged 18+ can have a vaccination, we want to vaccinate as many people as we can and we want to make getting a vaccine as easy as possible for you.

Before your vaccination:  Don't forget to keep hydrated (bring some bottled water with you) and have something to eat before you come!

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors:

Second doses

Second dosing intervals: given the increase in cases of the Delta variant, giving people the best possible protection from Covid-19 is vital. Evidence, based on real-world data, suggests a better immune response when doses are given at least 8 weeks apart; please wait until you have reached your 8 week point before accessing a walk-in clinic. Alternatively, patients can bring their appointment forward via the national booking system to 8 weeks if the original booking goes after this point.

COVID-19 vaccination status

From 17 May 2021, people in England who have had a full course of the COVID-19 vaccine will be able to demonstrate their COVID-19 vaccination status for international travel. A full course is currently two doses of any approved vaccine. People can prove their vaccination status: 

 

Volunteers

Volunteers are playing a vital in delivering the vaccination programme across the country. Our NHS Volunteer Responders and St John Ambulance volunteers have recently clocked up over 1 million shift-hours, with even more hours provided by local volunteers in various communities. Demand continues to be strong and we are currently recruiting Volunteer Stewards in areas of high demand. You can sign up at NHSVolunteerResponders.org.uk.

 

Pressures 

Urgent care is still available for those who need it, so we would urge people not to put off coming forward. We continue to encourage people to use 111 first for urgent care so that they can be directed to the best local service for them, or 999 for life-threatening illness or injuries. 

More information about the vaccination programme can be found here: https://www.norfolkandwaveneyccg.nhs.uk/covid-19-vaccination-programme   

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