Covid Vaccine - Update

Update: 16/02/21

Receiving your vaccine - The Practice will send a text with a bookable link to all patients that are eligible for the Covid Vaccination.  The Practice is directed by NHS England on which cohorts patients fall within. The Practice is working hard to complete each cohort in a timely manner.  Listed below are patients that need to be vaccinated urgently:

Similar to the flu groups, they include:

  • all over the age of 70
  • those at high risk
  • care home residents and staff
  • all health and care workers.

The high priority groups will be vaccinated first, and as the vaccine becomes more available, the practice will be able to provide this to increasing numbers.

All frontline health and social care workers are eligible to receive the vaccine, regardless of what sector and setting they work in. This includes locums and private health and social care workers.  If you are within one of the groups above and have not as yet receieved an invitation please contact the practice urgently.

Administering the vaccine - A registered healthcare professional will need to carry out the clinical assessment and consent. A suitably trained non-registered member of staff will be able to administer the vaccine itself under clinical supervision.

Administering the second dose - Patients will need to be contacted again to book in their second appointment allowing for the appropriate gap (within 12 weeks).

 

Nov 20 - Update 

Covid Vaccination - Update following the recent headlines 

Headlines last week spoke of “Covid vaccine by Xmas from GPs”....... What does this mean for me?   Whilst we certainly would want to be involved in any vaccination campaign, we don’t have any information ourselves yet and contrary to media reports no ‘deals’ have yet been done, but we expect more information soon.

Will you be getting paid to vaccinate us? GPs hold a contract with the NHS to provide certain services. The money from that contract pays for the building, the heating and electricity, the nurses, receptionists and staff, clinical equipment and a variety of other expenses that go with providing services to patients.

If the government wants GPs to do something new, (e.g. deliver a new vaccine) it will buy that service from the GP to pay for the extra staff, clinics and hours to cover expenses. It is very unlikely that GPs will make a profit out of the Covid vaccine. Based on current information they may make a loss, but recognise that it is the right thing to do for their patients and communities.

But what we don’t know, if what we might have to consider stop doing, to free up time to provide this vaccination service, given that we are working at 150% compared with this time last year, according to our LMC’s survey.

But isn’t it just like a flu jab? No, not by a long stretch.  Flu jabs are delivered in their own little syringes, and kept refrigerated. They can safely last in a vaccine fridge for several months. We can keep them and use them, either in dedicated flu clinics or opportunistically if we see you for something else. We can run the clinics a bit like a conveyor belt, as I’m sure many of you will have experienced. We can get a large number of people vaccinated in a very short period of time.  People then leave the practice immediately. Once a year, job done. 

So what’s different about a new Covid vaccine compared with the flu jab?  These new vaccines are not yet ready, and we don’t know when they will be. They are completely different. They need to be stored frozen in special dry ice, colder than a home freezer (about -70°C). Surgeries don’t have those freezers. So they will be delivered whilst they are defrosting for use. However they can inky be stored in a vaccine fridge for a few days before expiring.  They don’t come in their own little syringes. We will have to carefully draw them up from a main vial, dilute and mix them for each individual which will probably take from start to finish about 20 minutes, needing two members of staff (one to draw up, one to check - this is established safe practise with these preparations to minimise error). Once the patient has received their Covid-jab they must wait for 15 minutes to ensure no serious reaction -these vaccines are brand new, and whilst there is a huge regulatory framework to ensure their safety, we will have to take extra care.  This in itself will be difficult as we have to maintain social distancing and we don’t know how quickly these clinics will take place. It will be nowhere near as quick as a flu clinic.

Will this be at my local GP surgery?  To begin with, NHS England thinks that areas will have one central Covid-jab centre. This might be in a local practice. It might be yours, it might not. You may have to travel. How the chosen centre will continue to look after its patients ongoing and urgent health needs, we don’t yet know. No details of those plans have been shared yet.

Is it just one jab?  No. You will need two. They will be 3-4 weeks apart but you must not have had any other vaccinations in the previous week. 

How many patients will get it the vaccine when it’s ready?  Government says it wants 40 million people vaccinated (that’s 80 million appointments). Putting that into context, every year there are 40 million A&E attendances and 360 million GP appointments. This is going to take a long time. There are no spare GPs or practice nurses. We don’t yet know how we are going to plan for this on top of what we are doing now - managing hundreds of acute and chronic patients every day: on the phone, over video and being brought into the surgery by invitation.

Will it be available by Christmas?  No one knows. But if it is, there will be a very small number of doses and we think the Government might suggest protecting Care Home residents first.  Whatever you read in the paper or online, don’t forget - this is going to be very difficult. We need to make sure there is a safe system and a safe vaccine first.  Even when it comes, it won’t prevent Covid, it will only make its effects milder. So please bear with us - we are in the dark too. 

Our Flu Vaccination Programme continues to provide vaccinations to all currently eligible patient groups.

As well as the usual patients who qualify, a free flu vaccine will also be available to:

  • People who are on the shielded patient list and members of their household
  • All school year groups up to year 7
  • pPeople aged over 65, pregnant women, those with pre-existing conditions including at-risk under 2s

If you are in one of the above groups but have not yet received your vaccination, please contact the surgery.

Patients aged between 50 and 64

The Secretary of State announced the expansion of the programme to those aged between 50 and 64.  We are now planning this phase of the programme and will contact eligible patients as soon as our planning is completed.

If you are aged between 50 and 64, please do not contact the practice. We will contact you in the coming weeks.
More information can be found here

We will continue to provide patients with regular updates on the flu vaccination programme through websites, social media and text messages

 



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