Page updated 23rd January 2021
How and when will optical staff in Buckinghamshire receive the Covid-19 vaccination?
The most recent priority list was produced by the JCVI on 30th December 2020. This puts 'all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers' second in the priority ranking, after 'residents in a care home for older adults and their carers'. The national optical bodies have confirmed that all patient-facing optical staff (not just optometrists and dispensing opticians) are included as ‘frontline healthcare workers’, and the government has confirmed that all within these top rankings should have been offered their vaccinations by mid-February.
The rollout is being managed differently in different parts of our county, and there is more than one way to access the vaccination, wherever in the county you are based.
Obtaining the vaccination via your GP practice
This option is open to patient-facing optical staff anywhere. Contact your GP practice, let them know that you are a frontline healthcare worker, and that you are included in the 2nd JCVI priority group. The practice should then ‘recode’ you, so that you are called for your vaccination along with other frontline healthcare workers. Not all GP practice staff are aware that they can do this, so it may help to speak to the practice manager.
Milton Keynes CCG area
On 11th January 2021 the LOC sent out a booking link to enable optical staff working in Milton Keynes to book a vaccination slot at Milton Keynes University Hospital hub. The link was sent to the LOC’s main practice contacts, for onward distribution to employees and locums. If you’re based in MK and you haven’t received the link, please let Angela know: email@example.com.
Buckinghamshire CCG area
On 14th January 2021, when Bucks CCG had still not been able to supply us with any information regarding their vaccinations rollout, the LOC agreed an arrangement with Berkshire Healthcare Trust, who will allow optical staff working in the Bucks CCG area to book their vaccinations at Wokingham Hospital hub, via a link. The details were sent out in an email to our main practice contacts in the area, for onward distribution to employees and locums. If you’re based in the Bucks CCG area and you haven’t received the link, please let Angela know: firstname.lastname@example.org.
On 20th January 2021 we understand that Bucks CCG emailed a form to all practices in the Bucks CCG area. The LOC was not consulted about the form, but we have since seen it. The process is unclear, but our hope is that this will enable access to a hospital hub in mid-Bucks. If your practice didn’t receive the email, please let Angela know: email@example.com.
Each of the above methods may ask for one or two forms of ID. These might include a name badge and/or payslip, and something like a driving licence. This will be explained when you attempt to make a booking. AOP members can download from here a personalised letter confirming their eligibility for the vaccine, and an editable template to give to staff as their proof, but we have not heard that anyone has needed this form of evidence as yet.
8th January 2021 - LOCSU sets out the current situation regarding the rollout of vaccines.
7th January 2021- NHS England published Operational Guidance: Vaccination of Frontline Health & Social Care Workers.
Here's a link to NHS information about Covid-19 vaccines.
Can an employer insist that staff are vaccinated? The AOP answers the question for members here.
For further information on vaccines and vaccination procedures, see Chapter 14a of 'The Green Book'.
Will we be called upon to deliver Covid-19 vaccinations?
As yet, local optical professionals have not been specifically asked to contribute to the vaccine delivery programme, but you can express your interest in any future roles here.