Report of the Director of Public Health and the Medical Director, Manchester Health and Care Commissioning
The Committee received the Manchester COVID-19 12 Point Plan in December and the Plan had been updated to reflect the development of the Targeted Testing at Scale programme and the Mass Vaccination programme. The Director of Public Health (DPH) and the Medical Director for Manchester Health and Care Commissioning will deliver a presentation to the Committee with the latest available information about both of these programmes. In addition, the DPH will provide an update on the data and intelligence relating to cases of COVID-19 and the impact of the new UK variant.
The Committee considered the joint presentation of the Director of Public Health and the Executive Clinical Director Manchester Health and Care Commissioning that provided an update on COVID 19 activity and an update on the Manchester COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -
· What was the view on how best to protect yourself from the latest strain of the virus;
· Noting the infection rates amongst the over 60’s and the corresponding numbers of hospital admissions;
· Noting that the pressures currently experienced by hospitals as a result of COVID-19 was impacting on their capacity to deliver other services and care;
· Acknowledging the positive work of the Woodhouse Park Lifestyle Centre to support residents;
· It was important that as the vaccination programme progressed all residents were given the opportunity to be vaccinated;
· How quickly would schools obtain the result of mass testing;
· Noting the current two different vaccines that were being administered was there a clinical difference as to who should receive these;
· What was the view of the Director of Public Health on the time gap between the administration of the vaccine;
· What was being done to ensure that the children of key workers could still access school places during lockdown;
· Were volunteers still required for the vaccination sites;
· How would residents be contacted to inform them to attend for a vaccination; and
· What was the approach to addressing and dispelling the many misconceptions surrounding the vaccine.
The Executive Member for Adults, Health and Wellbeing stated that she wished to pay tribute to all staff who had worked to mobilise the vaccination programme and she had every confidence on the delivery of this, however noted that the success of the vaccination programme in Manchester was predicated on the successful supply of the vaccine that was being coordinated at a national level.
The Director of Public Health responded to questions by stating that in regard the new variance of COVID-19 the public were being advised to continue to follow all of the Public Health advice and guidance to ensure the rates of infection decreased. He advised that by reducing the rates of infection this would in turn reduce the pressures being experienced in hospitals. He described that the next couple of weeks would be critical and every attempt was being made to safely discharge patients from acute settings to help relieve the pressure on hospitals. He described that the levels of infections continued to be monitored and analysed.
The Executive Clinical Director MHCC stated that whilst the pressures currently experienced by hospitals as a result of the pandemic could not be underestimated it was important to emphasise that if anyone was experiencing a medical episode to seek immediate advice and assistance. She stated that the successful delivery of the mass vaccination programme would contribute to the stabilisation of hospital services.
The Director of Public Health stated that following briefings of senior clinicians he was confident that the current guidance relating to the time between vaccine injections was correct. He advised that a communications campaign relating to the vaccination programme had been developed and added that an individual did not need to be registered with a GP to be eligible for a vaccination.
The Director of Public Health stated that the results of testing in schools would be available after thirty minutes and schools had developed protocols to administer and mange this in line with advice from the Department for Education. He further commented that colleagues within Children’s Services and the Education Department had responded positively to the issue of school places for children of key workers and a dedicated phone line had been established for parents to contact if they were experiencing difficulties.
The Executive Clinical Director MHCC stated that the different vaccines that were being administered were appropriate for the vast majority of all over 18 year olds, however one was more appropriate for some patients with severe allergies and those who were pregnant or breast feeding. She described that the difference between the two vaccines was due to the storage and management of the vaccine.
The Executive Clinical Director MHCC expressed her gratitude to all those who had volunteered to assist at the vaccination centres and additional volunteers would be welcomed as this would be an ongoing programme, adding that training and support would be offered to all volunteers.
The Executive Clinical Director MHCC informed the Committee that residents would be invited for a vaccination, using the contact details retained by Primary Care. She commented that if people did not subsequently then book in for an appointment or did not attend a booked appointed would be monitored and followed up. She described that the booking system for the mass vaccination sites was currently administered nationally.
The Director of Corporate Affairs, MHCC described that a specific vaccination communications campaign had been designed in consultation with a range of partners. He described that the campaign would engage with a variety of different community groups and organisations and local intelligence would be used to target the campaign and deliver key messages regarding vaccination.
The Chair, on behalf of the Committee placed on record his gratitude to all staff and volunteers working to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Committee notes the report.