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Coronavirus Vaccines

Weekly Bulletin 10 - 3rd May 2021

The guidance surrounding use of the AstraZeneca vaccine has been clarified further.  Here is a link to the updated government guidance (27 April 2021):

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-and-blood-clotting/covid-19-vaccination-and-blood-clotting

  • These unusual clot events are RARE (4 per million or 0.0004%), you are more likely to come to serious harm during a 250 mile car journey. 
  • They have been found to occur quite soon after vaccination (4 days to 4 weeks).
  • For most people, the risks associated with Covid 19 infection are much higher than the risks of vaccination. For example, over 25% admitted to intensive care with Covid 19 infection have a significant clot. 
  • These unusual clot events are associated with LOW platelet count (thrombocytopenia).
  • People with a past history of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolus (clot in leg or lung) on its own are NOT at increased risk.  Neither are those who have had a cerebral vascular Accident (CVA or stroke) or myocardial infarction (MI or heart attack) 

The updated national guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) is:

Contraindications (must not have) to the AstraZeneca vaccine:

  • Patients with a history of heparin-induced thrombocytopenia and thrombosis (HITT or HIT type 2)
  • Patients who have experienced major venous and/or arterial thrombosis occurring with thrombocytopenia following vaccination with any COVID-19 vaccine

Precautions for AstraZeneca vaccine (please contact your GP to discuss further):

  • Patients with a history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis
  • Antiphospholipid syndrome

General guidance:

  • People aged under 30 with no underlying health conditions will be offered an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine where possible. 
  • Those who have already received a dose of AstraZeneca vaccine should complete with the same vaccine
  • Headaches, chills, fevers remain some of the most common side effects to vaccination. These usually occur from a few hours to 2-3 days after vaccination. 
  • Seek urgent medical attention if you experience any of the following 4 days to 4 weeks after vaccination:
    • a new, severe headache which is not helped by usual painkillers or is getting worse
    • a headache which seems worse when lying down or bending over
    • an unusual headache that may be accompanied by:
      • blurred vision, nausea and vomiting
      • difficulty with your speech
      • weakness, drowsiness or seizures
    • new, unexplained pinprick bruising or bleeding
    • shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain

As always, if you have queries regarding vaccination we would encourage you to send us an online message or e-Consult (available on our website) rather than phoning your GP Surgery.

The full JCVI guidance can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-the-green-book-chapter-14a


Weekly Bulletin 9 - 13th April 2021

Further to the media coverage around the AZ vaccine last week, here is a link to the government website with more information https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-vaccination-and-blood-clotting/covid-19-vaccination-and-blood-clotting

Here are the key messages:

  • These unusual clot events are RARE (4 per million or 0.0004%), you are more likely to come to serious harm during a 250 mile car journey. 
  • They have been found to occur quite soon after vaccination (4 days to 4 weeks) 
  • For most people, the risks associated with COVID 19 infection are much higher than the risks of vaccination.  For example over 25% admitted to intensive care with COVID 19 infection have a significant clot. 
  • These unusual clot events are associated with LOW platelet count.  People with a past history of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolus (clot in leg or lung) on its own are NOT at increased risk.
  • People with a history of the following conditions should not have AZ vaccine:
           a. Major blood clot (requiring hospital treatment) with low platelets (including after first AZ vaccine)
          b. Anti-phospholipid syndrome
          c. Thrombophilia or
          d. Cavernous sinus thrombosis  (but those who have had a normal stroke or clot in the lung or leg should go ahead and have AZ)
  • Those aged under 30 with no underlying health conditions will be offered an alternative to the AZ vaccine where possible.
  • If you are under 30 and had your first dose without needing medical attention afterwards you should proceed with your second dose as planned
  • Headaches, chills, fevers remain some of the most common side effects to vaccination. These usually occur from a few hours to 2-3 days after vaccination. 
  • Seek urgent medical attention if you experience any of the following 4 days to 4 weeks after vaccination:
    • blurred vision, nausea and vomiting
    • difficulty with your speech
    • weakness, drowsiness or seizures
    • a new, severe headache which is not helped by usual painkillers or is getting worse
    • a headache which seems worse when lying down or bending over
    • an unusual headache that may be accompanied by:
    • new, unexplained pinprick bruising or bleeding
    • shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain

As always, if you have queries regarding vaccination we would encourage you NOT to telephone your GP practice.  Please send us an online message or eConsult (available on our website).

Weekly Bulletin 8 - 7th April 2021

Everyone in cohorts 1-9 (Age 50 upwards and those with underlying health conditions) have now been invited for their first vaccine.

You will be aware that there is reduced vaccine availability nationally through April. Therefore no 1st vaccine doses will be administered during April apart from in exceptional circumstances (when GP surgeries will be notified directly from hospital specialists).

Locally, we are going to continue the vaccination programme, so from May onwards, depending on vaccine supply, the remaining groups (adults under 50) will start to be invited.  Please wait for your invite, do not contact your surgery.

2nd vaccine doses will go ahead as planned through April- currently around 11 weeks after the first dose. You will be invited for your 2nd vaccine in the same way you received your invite for your first dose.  Please do not contact your surgery.  Appointments are often released at late notice depending on vaccine deliveries.

Each person attending for a 2nd vaccine dose MUST have an appointment. For example, where couples are attending together, or carers are attending with the person they care for, each person must make an individual appointment. This ensures there is a vaccine available for each person attending.

A reminder - if you had your 1st vaccine at one of the national vaccination centres, please make an appointment at the same site for your 2nd dose.

Declining vaccination

If you have decided you would not like to get the vaccine, please let us know using the text message link. If this does not work, please send us a message using SystmOnline, eConsult or letter. We will then stop sending invites and can free up capacity to invite others.

Contact details

Where possible, we are sending invitations and updates via text message. If you have SystmOnline access, please log on to check/amend your contact details.

Queries

Please do not telephone your surgery with vaccination queries. Our telephone lines remain extremely busy and we would like enable patients urgent clinical queries to get through on the telephones. You can submit any vaccination queries by eConsult, SystmOnline message or letter.

Weekly Bulletin 7 - 15th March 2021

Vaccinations are continuing at Yorkshire Event Centre (YEC). There has been fantastic progress and we are hoping to be sending invites to the remaining patients in Cohorts 1-9 (50+ and those 16+ with underlying health conditions) over the next couple of weeks.

Invitations

We continue to send invitations for vaccination at YEC by SMS. 

Thank you to our patients who have updated their contact details. You can log onto SystmOnline to make sure we have your correct mobile number and email address. 

The national vaccination programme is starting to use SMS to send invitations to the mass vaccination centres (Leeds, York etc), in addition to the letters they already send. These messages will come from NHSVaccine and will invite you to book online or by calling 119.  However, if you would like your vaccine at YEC, please wait for your booking link to be sent by SMS from your surgery. These messages will come from Park Parade.

Declining a vaccine

We are encouraging everyone who is eligible to have a vaccine. It is safe and effective. However, if you wish to decline, we would be grateful if you could let us know.  When you receive your SMS, please decline using the link in the SMS or send us a message to let us know you'd like to decline using SystmOnline or eConsult.  This will free up capacity in the booking system and enable us to send out the next batch of invitations ASAP.

2nd vaccines

We have now started to invite patients for their 2nd vaccinations. We are planning for 2nd vaccines around 11 weeks after the first.  A reminder that you must have your 2nd vaccine at the same site that you had your 1st dose.

Queries

Thank you for using digital platforms (eConsult or SystmOnline messaging) to send us your queries regarding covid vaccination. We will aim to get back to you ASAP.  Please do not telephone the surgery.  We would like to keep the telephone lines open for day-to-day clinical queries. 

Weekly Bulletin 6 - 5th March 2021

COVID vaccinations are continuing up to at Yorkshire Event Centre (YEC) /Showground. There is a fantastic atmosphere and we're all enjoying seeing the smiles from staff, volunteers, and patients alike! 

Contact details

We are continuing to send vaccination invitations out by SMS/text message where possible. We are noticing that some of our records are incorrect/out of date. Patients with access to SystmOnline, please log on to check/amend your contact details, especially your mobile number and email address. 

For those without a mobile number on record, we will continue to contact you by email, letter or telephone. Please do not contact us to make an appointment. 

Cohort 7 (60-64 year olds)

These invitations have now started to go out. Please do not contact us, we will contact you.

2nd doses

We are aiming to start giving 2nd doses next week (w/c 8th March). This will start with those patients who received their first dose at YEC in December 2020. Please wait for your invitation, do not contact your surgery. 

Also, a polite reminder that you should have your 2nd vaccine at the same centre that administered your first dose. If you attended a mass vaccination site (Leeds, York) for your first dose, you should keep your appointment there for your 2nd dose. The number of 2nd dose vaccines delivered to YEC is based on the number of 1st doses given, we are not able to order additional vaccines, so YEC does not have the capacity to provide 2nd doses to those who received their first vaccine elsewhere.

Cohort 6 (underlying health conditions)

We are receiving many queries from patients who have an underlying health condition and are eligible for annual Influenza vaccine but have not received an invitation for COVID vaccine in Cohort 6. 

Please be aware that the criteria for COVID vaccination and Influenza vaccination are not the same. COVID and 'Flu are different viruses, and the risks are different. 

More information about the health conditions that are included in JCVI Cohort 6 for COVID vaccination can be found here https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/961287/Greenbook_chapter_14a_v7_12Feb2021.pdf (EXTERNAL LINK)

Queries about eligibility

If after reading the above, you still have queries about your eligibility, please contact your surgery using a digital format (eConsult or SystmOnline message). Please do not telephone the surgery, our phone lines remain extremely busy and we would like to protect them for patients telephoning with urgent clinical queries.

Weekly Bulletin 5 - 26th February 2021

"New" shielding cohort

  • Over the past couple of weeks, NHSE have remotely identified patients who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable due to a combination of factors. This is using the QCovid tool.
  • These patients will receive a shielding letter from NHSE. 
  • We are continuing to identify these patients as we are notified by the NHS and will send out invitations for vaccination. 
  • For more information on how this group have been identified, please visit https://digital.nhs.uk/coronavirus/risk-assessment/population
  • The algorithm is complex and as GPs we cannot nominate patients into this group. If you have queries, please direct them to the email address on the website above. 

Groups 1-5 - Age 65+ and Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (those who previously received a shielding letter)

Group 6 - Those with certain underlying health conditions age 16-64 and Adult Carers.

  • GP Practices in the Harrogate region are now inviting this group. 
  • The health conditions/severity of conditions is subtly different to the groups who are invited for Influenza vaccination each year. 
  • One main difference is the criteria for asthma - those taking regular tablet steroids are eligible, rather than inhaled steroids. 
  • More information about the eligible health conditions can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-the-green-book-chapter-14a
  • Please wait for your invitation. Your Practice will be in contact, by text message or letter (for those without a mobile number). 

Adult carers 

  • Adult carers also fall into Group 6, so are eligible for vaccination. 
  • Those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary Carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable. 
  • You can book at one of the mass vaccination sites - call 119 or visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/
  • You may want to attend YEC with the person you care for (if they also fall into Group 6), if you fall into this group and want to ensure you receive an invite for YEC, please send an online message to your surgery to put forward your request. 

2nd vaccinations

  • Planning of 2nd doses of vaccine is dependent on vaccine delivery dates. We are working on trying to give 2nd doses 10-11 weeks after the first dose. 
  • We will contact you to make arrangements. 
  • You should have your 2nd dose where you had your 1st dose.

Weekly Bulletin 4 - 15th February 2021

Group 6

Further to our previous bulletins, practices have now been asked to prioritise JCVI Group 6 (those with underlying health conditions) for Covid vaccinations. This group has overlap but is subtly different to those eligible for an Influenza vaccine each year. Please do not contact us, we will contact you. More information about Group 6 will be published when it is available.

Groups 1-5 

We will therefore NOT be routinely contacting anyone in any of the following groups who has not yet had their first vaccination:

  • Age 65 or over
  • Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (has had a shielding letter)
  • Front line health and social care workers/allied health professionals. 

If you fall into one of these groups you can self refer (without a letter) to one of the mass vaccination sites using this website:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/book-coronavirus-vaccination/ or call 119.

 

2nd vaccinations

  • Planning of 2nd doses of vaccine is dependent on vaccine delivery dates. We are working on trying to give 2nd doses 10-11 weeks after the first dose. 
  • We will contact you to make arrangements. 
  • You should have your 2nd dose where you had your 1st dose. 
 

Beware of scams!!!

  • Sadly there are a number of scams regarding Covid vaccinations in circulation
  • The NHS will NEVER ask you for your bank details, PIN or passwords, or personal identity documents.
  • Covid vaccinations are FREE on the NHS - you will never be asked to pay.
  • Scammer can target online or by telephone. 
  • Please remain vigilant. 
  • You can contact Action Fraud on 0300 1232040 if you think you are a victim of a scam. 

Covid vaccination and Fertility

Weekly Bulletin 3 - 5th February 2021

  • Invites to have your Covid vaccination at the Yorkshire Event Centre (YEC) are being sent out by text message wherever we have your mobile phone number. Those without a mobile phone are being telephoned directly to make a booking. We will contact you
  • The quickest and easiest way to book your appointment at (YEC) is using the link in your AccuRx invitation text. Please call your surgery only as a last resort. 
  • If you have already booked an appointment at one of the NHS mass vaccination centres in Leeds or York and then receive an invite to YEC you can either
    • Keep your appointment in Leeds or York. There is no need to notify your GP surgery. 
    • Book instead at the YEC. Please book using the AccuRx link in your text message. You must cancel your existing appointment in Leeds or York yourself. Your GP surgery cannot access the NHS mass vaccination booking system, so cannot cancel appointments in Leeds/York on your behalf
  • 2nd vaccinations 
    • We are working on a plan to administer 2nd vaccines. As per national guidance these can be up to 12 weeks after the first.
    • Please do not contact your surgery to enquire about your second vaccine. We will contact you
    • Vaccine supplies for 2nd vaccines are being determined by where you had your first dose. You must attend the same location for your 2nd vaccine. Please be aware of this when booking your first vaccination. 
  • Housebound patients
    • Where possible, you should try to have your vaccine at YEC. If this is possible with the support of family/friends, please book your appointment at YEC using the methods above. 
    • For patients who are unable to leave their homes, even with support,  we are planning home visits for vaccination during the week commencing 8th February. We will contact you to make arrangements. Please do not contact us.

Weekly Bulletin 2 - 25th January 2021

The Harrogate Bus Company has started a new service from the bus station to the Yorkshire Showground Vaccination Centre  and back, with effect from Monday 25th January.

This service will operate from 8am to 8pm and is free to use.

The bus sets off from the station at 10 to the hour and 20 past the hour.

It leaves the showground at 5 past the hour and 25 to the hour.  It will be an electric bus.

  • Vaccination rollout continues in the Harrogate and Rural region. Sessions are running over 5 days this week at the  Yorkshire Event Centre (YEC) with the aim of administering over 8000 vaccinations 
  • Invites started going out to 74-79 year olds and those in the "Clinically Extremely Vulnerable" cohort last week 
  • Invites are being sent out by text message wherever we have your mobile phone number. Those without a mobile phone are being telephoned directly to make a booking. Please do not contact us, we will contact you 
  • The quickest and easiest way to book your appointment at YEC is using the link in your AccuRx invitation text. Please call your surgery only as a last resort 
  • If you have already booked an appointment at one of the NHS mass vaccination centres in Leeds or York and then receive an invite to YEC you can either
    • Keep your appointment in Leeds or York. There is no need to notify your GP surgery 
    • Book instead at the YEC. Please book using the AccuRx link in your text message.  You must cancel your existing appointment in Leeds or York yourself.  Your GP surgery cannot access the NHS mass vaccination booking system, so cannot cancel appointments in Leeds/York on your behalf. 
  • Beware of Covid vaccine scams. We will never ask for bank details to confirm your identity. If you are aware of any scams, please report them using the following  website.   https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/alert/coronavirus-vaccine-scams-warning
  • The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists has provided guidance regarding Covid vaccination in pregnancy. Please see this information sheet if you are pregnant and eligible for a vaccination. Please talk to your midwife or specialist if you have any queries. https://www.rcog.org.uk/globalassets/documents/guidelines/2021-01-12-covid-19-vaccine-info-sheet.pdf (EXTERNAL LINK)

Weekly Bulletin 1 - 18th January 2021

GP surgeries in the area are working together to provide Covid vaccinations at the Yorkshire Event Centre (YEC). 

Our surgery telephone lines are extremely busy with usual clinical queries from our patients. Please do not contact your surgery to find out when you will get your vaccine, we will contact you. 

When we get notification of vaccine supply numbers and dates, patients are being invited (by text message, telephone call or letter) in order of priority according to the Government published list of priority groups as below - more information about how this list was drawn up can be accessed here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/priority-groups-for-coronavirus-covid-19-vaccination-advice-from-the-jcvi-30-december-2020

Since the first vaccinations were given on 22nd December, excellent progress has been made in the region with groups 1 and 2. 

Invitations will be sent out to everyone in one priority group before moving to the next. We are not able to amend an individual patient's priority group allocation. 

GP Practices in the area are providing a mass vaccination effort for residents and staff of care homes for older adults over this coming weekend (22nd/23rd January 2021). 

You may be aware of other areas who have started inviting lower aged groups, but with a proportionately high number residents aged over 80 in the Harrogate region, it has taken a little longer to invite all aged over 80 than in other areas. 

We are hoping that invitations will start to go out to group 3 (aged 75 and over) next week. 

You may have received a letter inviting you to book an appointment at one of the new mass vaccination centres (locally these are Leeds, York and Newcastle). This is a different service to the local GP-run vaccination centre at YEC. Please do not contact your GP surgery regarding this letter. 

  • If you already have an appointment to attend the YEC, you should keep your appointment at the YEC. 
  • If you receive a letter about the mass vaccination centres, you can choose to book your vaccine there, or wait for your invitation for a vaccination at the YEC. Please do not contact your surgery, we will contact you to invite you to the YEC. 

New guidance has been released this week by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists for women who are pregnant or planning pregnancy. https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/news/RCOG-and-RCM-respond-to-misinformation-around-Covid-19-vaccine-and-fertility/

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