COVID-19 and How to Get the Vaccine
As you may have seen the UK has had three separate Covid vaccines approved for use, the Pfizer BioNTech, Oxford AstraZeneca and Moderna. The government has begun their roll out of vaccines to hospitals, vaccination hubs and GP practices and we have already commenced with our vaccination programme here at Central Surgery.
Vaccinations are being delivered according to priority groups identified by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisaton (JCVI). The NHS will not offer any COVID-19 vaccination to the public until the MRHA has signed off as safe to do so. They have said the vaccines is very safe and highly effective and have no concerns over their efficacy against new variants of the COVID-19 Virus.
We update our Facebook page with regular posts outlining our next clinics and how we’ve tried to make things easier for our patients when they visit.
If you have any other queries about the COVID-19 vaccine, please see the FAQs below. If you would like further information please see the following websites:
We would appreciate it if people don’t contact the surgery in the first instance with any queries relating to the COVID-19 vaccine. We have tried to answer the most common questions below.
How will patients be invited for a vaccine?
Patients will be invited for a vaccine in accordance with the priority groups as outlined in the image below. They will either be contacted by their GP practice and arrange an appointment with them over the phone or will receive a letter inviting them for a vaccine.
What should I do if I haven’t heard from my GP or received a letter?
GP practices are working through their lists of patients and contacting people individually by their age group as set out above.
Central Surgery is committed to contacting people as quickly as possible and is working hard to do so. If we are unable to get in touch with you, we will try again or send a letter to you inviting you to a clinic. You will not be removed from the list unless you expressly say that you do not want the vaccine. We are kindly asking people not to contact us to enquire about their vaccine. We will be in touch when it is your turn.
COVID VACCINATION UPDATE
Following latest NHS guidance, we are now contacting eligible patients from the JVCI priority cohort 6 group to arrange first Covid vaccinations.
JCVI priority Cohort 6 group includes ‘‘All individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality ‘’
If you are unsure which cohort you are in please see the link below that lists the cohorts and medical conditions that make up cohort 6.
JCVI priority Cohort 5
We have received a number of calls recently from patients who fall into the JCVI priority Cohort 5 which includes all those of 65 -69 years of age and over.
The guidance from NHS England to GP surgeries is that ‘’Patients aged 65-69 years are separately being invited by NHS England to attend alternative sites (mass vaccination centres or pharmacies)’’
If a patient from cohort 5 (65-69 years) contacts us and feels they are unable to attend one of the alternative sites (mass vaccination centres or pharmacies) then we will allow them to have it at the surgery or make arrangement’s if they are housebound.
NB Clinic dates are scheduled once we have confirmed vaccine delivery dates so you may have to be placed onto a waiting list initially and contacted as we set more clinics up.
Why should I get a vaccine?
The COVID-19 vaccination is not compulsory. Having the vaccine means you are much less likely to become ill from Covid-19, which can cause serious illness and death.
Having the vaccine could also benefit those around you. Although it doesn't mean you can't spread the virus, it may make it less likely. And if more people are vaccinated, that also reduces the potential for the virus to form new variants that might stop a vaccine from working in future.
Is there anyone who can’t have the vaccine?
Tell your doctor, pharmacist or nurse beforehand if any of these apply you. You may still be able to have the vaccine, but there may be things they need to check or discuss with you first:
- you have ever had a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) after any other vaccine injection
- you currently have a severe infection with a high temperature (over 38°C)
- you have a problem with bleeding or bruising, or if you are taking a blood thinning medicine (anticoagulant)
- your immune system does not work properly (immunodeficiency) or you are taking medicines that weaken the immune system (such as high-dose corticosteroids, immunosuppressants or cancer medicines).
I have asthma, am I eligible?
Around the country many people have been confused over the criteria for which asthmatic patients fall into cohort 6 of the COVID-19 vaccination programme (the current cohort). Only severe asthmatics now fall into this cohort as, according to Asthma UK, there is reassuring evidence to suggest that well controlled asthma doesn’t increase the risk of dying from COVID. Severe asthma includes “people who have had 3 prescriptions for oral steroids over a 3-month period, or people who have ever had an emergency Admission with their asthma.
If you are asthmatic and would like to know more about this issue please read the following article from Asthma UK’s in-house GP.
I’m pregnant/breastfeeding, can I have the vaccine?
There's no evidence the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe if you're pregnant. But more evidence is needed before you can be routinely offered the vaccine.
The JCVI has updated its advice to recommend you may be able to have the vaccine if you're pregnant and:
You can have the COVID-19 vaccine if you're breastfeeding.
Speak to a healthcare professional before you have the vaccination. They will discuss the benefits and risks of the COVID-19 vaccine with you.
You do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.
Read the latest COVID-19 vaccine advice if you're pregnant, may get pregnant or are breastfeeding on GOV.UK
How effective is the COVID-19 vaccine?
The 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine should give you good protection from coronavirus. But you need to have the 2 doses of the vaccine to give you longer lasting protection.
There is a chance you might still get or spread coronavirus even if you have the vaccine.
This means it is important to continue to follow social distancing guidance. If you can, wear something that covers your nose and mouth in places where it's hard to stay away from other people
Do I need the vaccine if I’ve already had COVID?
Yes. You may have some level of immunity if you’ve had the disease, but this varies and may not last long. So it’s really important to get the vaccine. The MHRA has considered the issue and decided that getting vaccinated is just as important for those who have already had Covid-19 as it is for those who haven’t.
What are the side effects?
Most side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine are mild and should not last longer than a week, such as:
- a sore arm where the needle went in
- feeling tired
- a headache
- feeling achy
- feeling or being sick
You can take painkillers, such as paracetamol, if you need to.
If you have a high temperature you may have coronavirus or another infection.
If your symptoms get worse or you are worried, call 111.
Tell healthcare staff before you are vaccinated if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction (anaphylaxis).
You should not have the vaccine if you've ever had a serious allergic reaction to:
- a previous vaccine
- a previous dose of the same COVID-19 vaccine
- some medicines, household products or cosmetics
Serious allergic reactions are rare. If you do have a reaction to the vaccine, it usually happens in minutes. Staff giving the vaccine are trained to deal with allergic reactions and treat them immediately.
Do I have a choice which vaccine I receive?
At the moment patients are not being given the choice which vaccine they receive when they attend for one.
NHS England have released several useful leaflets to help people understand how and when they will receive a vaccine.
COVID Vaccination leaflet
COVID Post Vaccination Leaflet
Information for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable patients
If you’re suffering with a medical issue and you’re not sure what to do now we are back into lockdown, Central Surgery is still running a full service Monday – Friday. You just need to contact the practice on 01652 636600 to speak to a member of our reception team who will sign post you to the correct place. You can talk to a Clinician and still have medication prescribed for you. You will be invited in for a face to face consultation if the Clinician thinks it is necessary.
If you are coming into the surgery, you must wear a face covering at all times. Some people are however, exempt from wearing a face covering due to a disability. The link below provides exemption cards for those who are eligible. The practice will not provide letters of exemption for face coverings or shielding letters.
We know a lot of people are concerned about hospital waiting times at the moment, particularly those waiting for cancer care. below link has many patient information videos on how to access cancer services during the pandemic.