GPs in Derbyshire are working hard to finalise the arrangement for COVID-19 vaccinations. This has been the subject of very stringent rules and regulations and you can be assured that the NHS is working around the clock to finalise the details. The vaccination hubs will be using the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine – this vaccine’s storage requirements have severly limited the locations from which the vaccines can be stored and given. The Astra Zeneca/Oxford vaccine is available and is easier to transport and store allowing us to hold our own practice vaccination. Patients aged 80 or over, care home staff and healthcare staff are the first priorty groups for vaccinations, and these will be broadened once more vaccine becomes available. Patients will be contacted when their vaccine is available and we are asking everyone to avoid contacting their surgery in the meantime with regards to the vaccine. It is possible that people are hearing of neighbours receiving the vaccination, but this will only be because that are registered with a GP pracitce that is in the first round for the vaccination programme rollout, or are a member of NHS or adult care staff. Everyone has an important part to play and we’re asking people to remember the following.
– Please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you.
– When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments.
– Please continue to follow all guidance to control the virus and save lives.
Vaccination Priority Groups – https://www.brailsfordandhulland.co.uk/files/2020/12/Covid-19-vaccine-priority-poster.pdf
Covid-19 Why Do I Have To Wait – https://www.brailsfordandhulland.co.uk/files/2020/12/Covid-19-guide-for-adults-leaflet.pdf
Covid-19 Related Enquires – https://www.brailsfordandhulland.co.uk/files/2021/02/Covid-Related-Enquiries-Template-002-3.pdf
Childrens Coronavirus Fact Sheet – https://www.brailsfordandhulland.co.uk/files/2021/02/Childrens-Coronavirus-Fact-Sheet-National.pdf
What you need to know about getting the vaccine
When will I get the vaccine?
This depends on which group you are in. People over 70, those in shielding group, care home residents and health and care staff should have been given their first dose, or offered and appointment by now. If you are in one of those groups and haven’t had your first appointment, you are being asked to book in.
People of 65 and those who are clincally extremely vunerable are now being sent appointments or invitations to book. If you live in Engaland you can book online using the NHS website or by calling 119. If a suitable slot is not available, your GP will be contacting you soon.
The government also says all high risk groups that is, everyone over 50, health cand care staff and those with health conditions should receive theis first dose by May. And it says all adults should receive a first dose by September.
You should get an invitation to have the vaccine when it is your turn. Currently, this is the order of priority as decided by the JCVI (Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation), the expert committee which advises the UK government on immunisation.
1. Older people who live in a care home, and their carers
2. Frontline health and social care workers, and all those 80 years of age and over
3. People aged 75 and over
4. People aged 70 and over, and clinically extremely vulnerable people (the shielding group) aged 16 to 69.
5. People aged 65 and over
6. People aged 16 – 64 with health conditions which put them at higher risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus. These include heart or circulatory disease, as well as diabetes, chronic lung, kidney or liver disease, extreme obesity and if your immune system isn’t working properly. People who are unpaid carers for someone who relies on them (including those who get carers’ allowance)
7. People aged 60 and over
8. People aged 55 and over
9. People aged 50 and over
Should I have the coronavirus vaccine
Yes, you should get the vaccine if you are offered it. Having the vaccine means you are much less likely to become ill from Covid-19, which can cause serious illness and death. At the moment you will only be offered it if it is considered that you will benefit from the vaccine more that the general population. If you have a heart condition you’re at increased risk of serious illness if you catch the virus, so it is important to have it.
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.
How long does the vaccine last?
We don’t know exactly how long protection will last, because the vaccines haven’t been around for long enough.
The second dose is more important for longer lasting protection, so it’s really important to go back for your second dose when you are invited for it.
The length of protection may vary between different vaccines. It is likely to be at least several months, but it may be that repeat vaccinations are needed. Researches are studying this closely.
How quickly does the vaccine work?
Generally the protection from the virus starts after 12-14 days. This is because your immune system needs to generate a response, and people’s immune systems can vary.
The Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford vaccines both need to be given in two doses. The second dose will be given 3-12 weeks after the first (for the Pfixer/BioNTech vaccine) or 4-12 weeks after the first dose (for the Oxford vaccine). You will still have a good level of protection after the first dose, so don’t worry if you are not invited for the second dose as quickly as you might have hoped. The second dose is important to get the best level of protection, and for longer lasting protection, so it’s really important to go back for your second dose.
Which vaccine will I get?
All the currently approved vaccines have been shown to be safe and to work well at preventing disease from the virus. The studies of effectiveness have measured them in different ways, so it isn’t necessarily helpful to compare them. Serious side effects are very rare in all of the approved vaccines.
You won’t be able to choose which vaccine to have, so it’s important to have the vaccine you are offered.
Whichever vaccine you are offered, it will have been through all the safety processes and will have been carefully reviewed and approved. It will also have been recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisation (JCVI) for people of yor age and risk group.
There will be further research to look at how best to use the different vaccines. At the moment, there isn’t any evidence that any one vaccine is better than the other for people with specific conditions.
Will I be able to pass on the virus to others if I’ve had the vaccine?
We don’t yet know for sure, but it may be possible for you to pass the virus on even is you’ve been vaccinated. The vaccines work by causing your body to create a rapid immune response to the virus so it doesn’t make you ill, but may not stop you from passing the virus on. So even if you’ve been vaccinated, it’s really important to follow guidelines around social distancing, hand washing and other guidance to stop the spread of coronavirus. You’ll still need to self-isolate if you have symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has.
Do you still need to shield if I’ve had the vaccine?
Yes, if you are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable and shielding guidance is in place where you live. Even if you’ve been vaccinated, you are recommended to continue to shield until advised that you don’t need to. This is because you are one of the people at greatest risk of getting seriously ill from coronavirus. So whilst we continue to learn more about how well the caccine works in different people and how long its protection lasts for the safest thing for you is to continue to shield.
I’ve already had Covid-19, do I still need to get vaccinated?
Yes’ it’s really important to get the vaccine, even if you’ve already had Covid-19. You may have some level of immunity if you’ve had the disease, but this varies and may not last long. 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.
Can the vaccine give me coronavirus?
No, you can’t get coronavirus for the vaccine. A vaccine would not be approved for use if it could give you the disease it is supposed to protect you from.
The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is not a live vaccine, meaning it does not contain any live viruses – nor does the Moderna vaccine. The Oxford vaccine contains a harnless form of different virus, which has already been altered so it cannot cause an illness.
How much does the vaccine cost?
The coronavirus vaccine is free. Say no if you are asked to pay for the vaccine. Criminals are using the vaccine as an opportunity to run scams. You won’t get the vaccine and will be out of pocket.
So far, only national governments have access to the vaccine. It’s being offered on the NHS for free. It isn’t available privately so you can’t pay to get it sooner.
Will I be forced to get the vaccine?
No, the vaccine will not be compulsory.
Does the pneumococcal vaccine protect me from Covid-19?
No, the pneumococcal vaccine protects you from a different illness, not Covid-19. It’s important to have both vaccines if you are offered them.
Is it safe, and how effective is it?
Yes, it’s very safe.
Vaccines are only approved for use after being thoroughly tested on tens of thounds of people. On top of that, millions of people have now had the vaccines in the UK, the overwhelming majority without serious reactions.
In order to approve a vaccine, experts at the MHRA look carefully at all the evidence about the vaccine and make sure that it meets strict standares of safety, quality and effectiveness. All of the approved vaccines are shown to be safe.
There have been a very small number of reports of allergic reactions to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. For the vast majority of people, there is no need to worry about these reports. People receiving the Pfizer vaccine will be observed by medical staff for 15 minutes afterwards – so in the extreamly rare event of a reaction, it can be trated right away. Millions of people have now had the vaccine and the number of serious allergic reactions have been very rare – fewer than 1 in 50,000 people in the case of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, and fewer than 1 in 100,000 in the case of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
The only people with allergies who should not get the vaccine are those with a history of serious reaction to the vaccine ingredients. You can have the vaccine even if you have a history of anaphylactic shock to other things – just let the person who is giving you the vaccine know beforehand.
How effective is the Pfizer vaccine?
Trials in 44,000 people found that after two doese the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is 95% effective at preventing Covid-19 symptoms and illness in those aged 16 and over. The short-term effectiveness after one dose is estimated at 89%, although this has not been measureed longterm.
How effective is the Oxford vaccine?
Trials in 11,000 people found that after two doses the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is 70% effective at preventing Covid-19 symptoms. None of those who did develop Covid-19 despite getting the vaccine needed hospital treatment, which suggests that it gives very high protection against severe disease. The short-term effectiveness after one dose is estimated at 73%, although this has not been measured long term.
How effective is the Moderna vaccine?
Trials in 27,000 people found that after two doses to Moderna vaccine is 94% effective at preventing Covid-19 symptoms and illness in those aged 16 and over. The short term effectiveness after the first dose is similar.
How has it been developed so quickly?
Because of the global emergency, developing this vaccine has been prioritised by scientists, drug companies and governments, and huge amounts of collaboration has helped this to happen as fast as possible. The vaccines that have been develeped have all been through the same amount of testing and safety processes as other vaccines. Any vaccine that is approved will still have been rigorously tested on tens of thousands of people.
Can women who are pregnant or breastfeeding have the vaccine?
Although pregnant and breastfeeding women were at first not eligible for the vaccine, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation and the UK’s Cheif Medical Officers have reviewed the evidence and say that the benefits of vaccine outweigh the risks for pregnant women whose the risk of exposure to the virus is high and cannot be avoided, or where the woman has underlying conditions that place her at very high risk of serious complications of Covid-19. For women trying to become pregnant, the vaccine doesn’t mean thay should delay that, and it’s also ok to have the vaccine if you are breastfeeding.
Can children have the vaccine?
It is not currently planned to be given to most under 16s, as the vaccines haven’t been tested in younger children, and becuase very few children get seriously ill from coronavirus. Only children at very high risk of catching the virus and of becoming seriously ill from it, such as older children with severe neuro-disabilities in residential care, will be offered vaccination.
I’m allergic to Penicillin – can I have the vaccine?
Yes – all of the available vaccines are safe of you are allergic to Penicillin.
Who can’t have the vaccine?
You should not get the vaccine if you have previously had a serious allergic reaction to:
– Any of the ingredients in the Covid-19 vaccine
– A previous dose of the Covid-19 vaccine
In most cases children under 16 can’t have the vaccine (see details above)
What are the side effects?
Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Many people don’t get side effects. For the vaccine (like the other vaccines), the vast majority of side effects that do occur are mild and short term. The most common are discomfort at the injection site, or feeling generaly unwell, tired, or feverish, or a headache, feeling sick or having joint or muscle pain. You can take Paracetamol to treat any of these side effects. For some people, the side effects can last a little longer, but they usuallydisappear after a few days and should not last longer than about a week. You can go back to your normal activities as long as you feel well. If you feel unwell or very tires you should rest. You will be given a leaflet about possible side effects when you receive the vaccine.
Often side effects are a sign that the vaccine is doing its job, it can happen with many vaccines that some people might feel slightly unwell because their immune system is responding to the protein, but this is not a Covid-19 illness and the vaccine can’t give you coronavirus.
Which vaccines have been approved in the UK, and how do they work?
Three vaccines have now been approved for the use in the UK by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Authority (MHRA), and two are currently available.
– The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, approved on 2 December 2020 and started being given on 8 December 2020.
– The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was approved on 30 December 2020 and started being given on 4 January 2021.
– The Moderna vaccine was approved on 8 January 2021 and will be available in the UK from spring.
Can you mix the vaccines?
Your first and second dose should be of the same vaccine. It’s not intended that you get a different vaccine for each dose, except in exceptional circumstances. This might be because the same vaccine is no longer available, or there isn’t a record of which vaccine was given for the first dose. Public Health England says that because all the available vaccines are based on the spike protein, it is likely the second dose will help to boost the response to the first dose, even if it is a different vaccine.
Different vaccines will not be mixed in the same dose.