To receive an informal update in respect of delivery of the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Consideration was given to a presentation delivered by the Assistant Director of Adult Social Care on behalf of the CCG partners who were leading the delivery of the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme. The presentation outlined progress, challenges and next steps in the delivery of Rotherham’s vaccination programme.
In discussion, Members requested additional information regarding the timeline in which the outstanding vaccinations would be delivered to people in Social Care and in Care Homes. The response from officers provided assurances that the timeline is to conclude all Social Care by 15 February. The care homes would be revisited after a 28-day period, and staff who have been missed are then vaccinated at that time. This was likely to be delivered primarily through the PCNs rather than through the hospital hubs, as the hospitals would be winding up their social care vaccinations within the week.
Further clarification was requested regarding the vaccination of people moving into Care Homes following a hospital discharge. An answer was offered outside the meeting following consultation with hospital partners.
Members also expressed interest in hearing more details about the difference in the percentage of takeup of the COVID-19 vaccine versus the flu vaccine offered to staff in care homes. The majority of staff were taking up the offer; although some staff had refused the vaccine. The reasons for this vary according to personal circumstances, if they are planning to have a family or if they do not like to have vaccines, for example.
Members also were interested in receiving a projection around the secure supply of the vaccine. Officers were able to provide assurances that there were no supply shortages into South Yorkshire in the near field.
Members commended the delivery of the vaccination programme and expressed interest in receiving updates regarding the progress of the booster jab and the associated data.
Clarification was requested regarding anyone who falls into the top four priority groups who may not have yet been able to access the programme. The response averred that the CCG are ready to jab anyone in these groups who have been missed thus far.
Clarification was requested which of the vaccine manufacturers were in use in the local programme, and whether the uptake of these have elicited different reactions. Officers confirmed that vaccines by two manufacturers are in use in the local programme. Further assurances were provided by the Director of Public Health regarding what can be expected as far as reactions or side-effects of the vaccine. It was noted that because of the massive scale of the programme, and even though more people would be receiving the vaccine, it is still a very small percentage of people who experience side-effects. The reaction is the immune system building up its response. We advocate strongly that people return for their second jab for more enduring and better immunity.
The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health noted that the average waiting time upon arriving for the vaccine appointment and receiving the jab is between 5 and 10 minutes. Confidence was high that the four priority groups would be completed before 14 March deadline. If there are concerns about someone who is in these priority groups who has not yet received their vaccine, please wait until 14 March before making contact.
Members requested assurances around a timeline for housebound people who fall into the priority groups. Assurances were provided that the efficiency of the hubs has allowed the programme to be able to start getting to the roughly 1000 residents who are homebound and cannot attend a hub for their jab.
Members requested reassurance around the 12-week gap between initial and booster jabs. The Director of Public Health provided assurance that 12-week scheduling allows a large number of people to have the benefits of the first dose as opposed to a smaller number having the benefits of both doses. This is for the overall population effect which will help lower the transmission rate. It takes two to three weeks to develop immunity from the first dose, but no loss of efficacy at 12 weeks when the second jab is administered.
Members raised concerns around the administration of the vaccine to people with disabilities. In response the Director of Public Health noted the distinction was made that some disabilities do not increase risk from COVID-19, and the priority is to vaccinate those who are clinically extremely vulnerable. People who fall into that category and those who have conditions that add risk contributing to their being extremely clinically vulnerable will be vaccinated, and the CCG will have more operational details around that delivery.
Clarification was requested around whether it is possible to reschedule a jab if someone were unable to attend. The response noted that if someone for a very good reason cannot come to their appointment, it would be appropriate to contact the CCG through their call centre to reschedule.
Members inquired as to projections for future vaccination programmes. The response from the Director of Public Health described the demonstrated efficacy of the vaccines against the emerging variants, but we have yet to find out how long the vaccine immunity lasts. We hope it is a lot longer. It may not become an annual programme, but it may be that we revisit this vaccination programme. It may be in the future that vaccines target a number of viruses with more effectiveness.
1. That the update be noted.