CARE homes and doctors’ surgeries across Oxfordshire are getting ready to roll out the new coronavirus vaccine.

People aged 80 and older, care home workers and NHS workers who are at higher risk are at the front of the queue for the Pfizer jabs.

NHS doctors’ surgeries have said that when individuals are eligible for a vaccine, they will be contacted with a date and time for their jab.

However, many care homes and doctors surgeries in south Oxfordshire are now waiting for the stock to arrive.

The Orders of St John Care Trust (OSJCT) runs 17 care homes across Oxfordshire including The Meadows care home in Didcot and Westgate House in Wallingford.

The first bookings are already allocated in Oxford, Henley and Chipping Norton and other locations will be following shortly after.

Patsy Just, OSJCT regional director for Oxfordshire, said: “It is excellent news that colleagues across the county are securing bookings so early in the process. Their commitment and skill has been inspiring for the past nine months.

“Throughout the pandemic, The Orders of St John Care Trust has taken a leading role in tackling this unprecedented challenge. We have taken part in pilot Covid-19 testing programmes and are now a key part in the Vivaldi 2 study which seeks to determine how our antibodies react to the virus over time.

“Vaccination presents the best way forward to return to normality in our homes and we will continue to support all residents and colleagues in getting access to it. We wait confirmation of how the vaccine is best delivered to consenting residents within our homes.”

Wantage Nursing Home also said it was also still waiting for information about vaccination slots for its residents and staff.

Oak Tree Health Centre in Didcot is now awaiting the arrival of the vaccine.

Practice manager Sandra Cabello said: “We are still waiting on the stock; we don’t know when that will be. Most of the time we get the information through the news before we get anything directly.”

Professor Stephen Powis, NHS national medical director, has warned the roll out of a jab will be a marathon not a sprint.

The vaccine is typically delivered by an injection in the shoulder but there is a difficult logistical challenge to get the jab from the manufacturers Pfizer to patients.

It needs to be stored at -70C before being thawed out and can only be moved four times within that cold chain before being used.

Aside from the logistical difficulties of the Pfizer vaccine, the Royal College of Nursing has warned getting people to return for a second dose of could be a 'key challenge' in the rollout.

People who receive the coronavirus vaccine will be given a card to show others they have had the vaccine and remind them to get the second dose.

Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon said: "The news that people are receiving a vaccine is fantastic. I would like to say a huge thank you to all the researchers, NHS staff, councils and all involved for their continued hard work in making this happen.

“We also cannot underestimate that vaccinating the UK is a huge logistical challenge, and it will not be a quick fix. To relax now would be to fall at the final hurdle. We must continue to stay careful over Christmas. Our priority must still be to continue to save the lives of our loved ones, and to protect the NHS over winter, while the vaccine is delivered."