Jan Ledward is the Chief Officer of Liverpool’s Clinical Commissioning Group. She is responsible for improving quality of care and health outcomes for everyone across our city. At the moment, Jan’s main focus is on delivering a speedy roll-out of the vaccination programme. Here she explains how it’s going.
In December 2020, approval was given for the first Covid-19 vaccine. This was the game-changer we had been waiting for – to find a way out of the pandemic – which has led to such tragic loss of life and devastating impacts for our city.
Liverpool’s GPs were asked to come together to establish a network, initially of 11 vaccine centres across the city. More than 100,000 people in Liverpool have now received the Covid-19 vaccine, including the majority of those in the initial priority groups – over 70s, people who are clinically extremely vulnerable, care home residents and health and social care staff.
We are now beginning to vaccinate further groups of the population – over 50s, unpaid carers and over 16s with underlying health conditions. When this phase has been completed by May, we will have provided protection to the groups that have accounted for most deaths from Covid-19.
In a city with high deprivation, good access to vaccination centres is important. We have relatively low car ownership and many people are understandably reluctant to use public transport.
When the local NHS was asked to expand vaccine centre capacity, we decided to take a different approach to having a Liverpool mass vaccination centre, by putting our centres close to where people live, to make it as easy as possible for people to get vaccinated when it’s their turn.
We have opened a new vaccine satellite site at Princes Park in Toxteth, to bring vaccines closer to our BAME communities. Another satellite site has opened at Anfield with support from Liverpool Football Club. Sport plays such an important role in the life of the city, so it’s really fitting that the club is helping us to bring ever closer the day when football fans can watch from the terraces. Two more sites are due to open in the north and south of the city. GPs are also taking the vaccine to our most vulnerable communities, including the homeless and the housebound.
We know some groups experience real barriers or are hesitant to take up the vaccine. Local GPs are reaching out to understand cultural barriers and to respond to people’s concerns, reassuring them that the vaccine is safe and countering harmful misinformation, particularly on social media.
We have gathered trusted sources of vaccine information, including messages from local doctors and experts, along with answers to frequently asked questions, to reassure people who are hesitant that the Covid-19 vaccine is safe and effective: www.liverpoolccg.nhs.uk
We all have a role to play in promoting accurate information to help people to make informed, positive choices, to protect ourselves, our families and to see a return to normal life in Liverpool.