The COVID-19 Vaccination Programme – The Facts

In Derbyshire the vaccine roll-out continues to go well and in excess of 95% of patients 65 years and over have now had at least one dose of vaccine.

The vaccine programme is quite complex but it is working! Here are the basics – get a cup of tea first:


NHS England and Innovation (NHSE&I)- National NHS body that allocates the vaccines based on national figures. Vaccines cannot be ordered locally, they are purely allocated and we get 1-2 weeks notice of how much vaccine we are getting in Derbyshire.

Derby and Derbyshire CCG –  Local NHS body that accredits Vaccine Centres to make sure they are safe and can re-distribute the allocated vaccine with in Derbyshire if needed.

Primary Care Networks – PCN – Do you know about PCNs? These are Primary Care Networks. Ours is the Derbyshire Dales PCN and is a group of 13 practices, from Ashbourne to Hope, working together, with a patient population of 81,000. The PCN has a Clinical Director, Dr Ben Milton. Other key figures are Mrs Vicky Hetherington and Dr Penny Blackwell. It’s the PCN who have been ordering the vaccine and running Newholme Hospital. Our thanks goes to all of them.

Newholme Hospital – If you’ve not been to Newholme, it goes like this: when you drive into the grounds a marshall will show you where to park and where to go. You walk up a long corridor , from there you’ll be escorted to a bay for your vaccine. In the bays you will find familiar faces as all practices take turns in staffing a bay. The vaccine centre is just an unused hospital ward. After the vaccine, a 15 minute wait in another bay for the Pfizer or you get to leave straight away having the AZ  and then out of the side door and back to the car. You’ll be guided all the way.

DCHS Trust- Local NHS community trust. Employs district nurses and staffs the community hospitals. Administers vaccines.

Local Pharmacists – Including Peak Pharmacy and Casa Hotel. Administers vaccines.

Local Hospitals – Administers vaccines to some patients attending outpatients.

How You Are Invited

There are two completely separate systems:

  • National Vaccine Programme – which you may get an invite from the NHS to go to a centre or you can book online if eligible. The NHS Hubs have greater capacity and availability of vaccines and for patients who can travel to one of the NHS hubs the National Booking System is now open to bookings for patients if any of the following apply
  • you are aged 56 or over
  • you are at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable)
  • you are an eligible frontline health or social care worker
  • you have a condition that puts you at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
  • you have a learning disability
  • you are a main carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus

You can book online at

Details of the clinically extremely vulnerable list can be found online at

  • GPs – we work in our group of 13 practices – The PCN. We get  allocated the vaccine by NHSE&I and then share it fairly between all of us. Just to emphasise no practice in Derbyshire Dales is ahead or behind. Because we get limited vaccine, and we want everyone to get vaccinated as soon as possible, all practices encourage patients to use the National Vaccine Programme options if available. GP practices will phone or text your appointment otherwise.

Where You Get Your Vaccine

Mass Vaccine Centres – eg Derby Arena and Sheffield Arena  run by DCHS Trust –  invited by National Vaccine Programme.

Pharmacy-led Vaccination Sites – eg CASA Hotel (Peak Pharmacy) and Pinxton Village Hall (Pinxton Pharmacy) – invited by the National Vaccine Programme.

PCN – GP surgeries, Newholme Hospital or St Oswald’s Hospital – invited by GP practices or PCN.

Why Does It Seem Unfair Sometimes

NHSE&I – may allocate to Derbyshire less than we need but this will get corrected.

PCN – some practices have more patients in certain groups than other practices. This gets corrected too by the PCN sharing out the vaccines next time.

Coding – some patient’s illnesses may have got better but the computer considers the code still active and invites them for a vaccine early even though they are well. There is not the time to check all invites given the numbers and short notice period.

Definitions – definitions, for example, of who is a carer and how severe a learning disability is, can be really difficult.

Systems – the two systems for inviting are separate and GPs don’t know who has been invited for vaccination by the National Vaccine Programme.

Vaccine Supply – this is the main factor affecting speed. In our practice we can do 1000 vaccines per day but we get 200 per week. It’s a national thing and affects all practices. That’s why we ask you to get a vaccine from a centre if invited.

National Targets

By 15th April – 32 Million in UK – all priority groups 1-9 have had one vaccine. We’re on target! Extra vaccine supply due after 11th March. Despite how complex it is, the NHS is doing well!!

By 31st July – 21 million in UK – all adults between 18 and 49 will have had their first vaccine.


We still need to get a vaccine for children. This is being researched.

We will need boosters to cover new variants.

We will need vaccine centres, in some form or another,  for years to come.

We need to vaccinate the World otherwise we get more new variants and the disease continues. This may take years.

I think that’s enough from me. I hope that clarifies things a bit.

Be patient, be hopeful, stay safe and above all else be kind to each other.