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Groups of GP practices in Liverpool are starting to invite people over 80 to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

From today, vaccinations will be offered from a number of local hubs, with GP practices working together to provide the service.

The majority of these centres – which will be rolled out over the coming weeks – will be based in existing GP practices, but each one will be vaccinating eligible patients from across their local area – as opposed to just patients registered to their own practice. Together they will deliver vaccinations for eligible patients from all of Liverpool’s 85 GP practices.

Vaccinations will not be offered on a drop in basis. All eligible patients will be contacted direct (either by phone or letter) when it is their turn, with an invitation to attend a vaccination appointment and details of where to go. People do not need to contact their GP practice or any other NHS organisation to request a vaccine.

These local vaccination centres are in addition to the hospital vaccination hubs which began vaccinating patients on Tuesday 8 December, including Aintree Hospital in Liverpool.

Dr Fiona Lemmens, a local GP and Chair of NHS Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said:

“The start of this vaccination programme is a huge step forwards in our fight against coronavirus, and a lot planning has gone on over the past few weeks across the local NHS to help get Liverpool ready for this.

“We’ll let you know when it’s your turn to have a vaccine – you don’t need to contact us yourself – but it’s really important that you take up the offer of a vaccine when you’re invited to, as it really will save lives.

“However, it will still be some time yet before enough vaccines become available to everyone. In the meantime, our advice for protecting yourself and others around you continues to be to follow all of the latest government guidance such as washing your hands regularly, wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, and keeping a safe space between yourself and others.”

The vaccine currently being used (Pfizer/BioNTech) has very specific storage and transportation requirements, so the initial focus from this week will be those 80 years of age and over who can visit a centre in person. Housebound patients and care home residents will be vaccinated as soon as this is possible.

In the meantime, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is currently working with Liverpool City Council to identify a number of care home staff who will be able to receive the vaccine at a hospital.

The local vaccination centres are being set up and delivered by Primary Care Networks (PCNs), working with NHS Liverpool CCG. PCNs are groups of GP practices which work together to offer a wider range of services for patients in a particular geographic area. Liverpool has ten PCNs.