Covid Vaccinations – Second doses

Briefing information about vaccination programme that started for our patients in January 2021

We will soon be inviting you book an appointment for your SECOND COVID vaccination.

This will be at the Michael Herbert Hall in Wilton (as for your first) or at a home visit if you are housebound and unable to get to the Hall.

The system will run in a very similar way to last time and this information is to update you on a few changes.  Please refer back to the original information we sent you two or three months ago or go to our website if you want more detail.

This has been a great success story for the NHS as we battle this virus in what has been a true national effort.  As Her Majesty The Queen has just said that when we consider taking up this invitation – “ we ought to think about other people rather than themselves”.  The vaccination not only protects you but also those you meet and will give confidence to everyone that it is safe to return to a normal life once we have all been vaccinated. Thank you for doing this already but it is important to boost your immunity to protect yourself and others even more.

You may have been contacted by the NHS and asked to book to a mass vaccination clinic on-line or by ringing 119.  If we gave you your first vaccination PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS as we are responsible for giving you your second vaccination and please do not try and book a second vaccination through the national booking system.

Home visits

We hope to do these on Thursday 25 March and Friday 26 March and they will be done by Dr Craig-McFeely and Dr Hayes.  We will contact you with an approximate time and day which has to be planned for around ninety patients spread over a hundred and fifty square miles.  We will vaccinate residents at Hays Park on Thursday 25 March and will arrange this with the manager very soon. The home visit is to deliver the vaccination and we will not have time to add in a consultation about other things as other patients do not want to vaccinated late at night or have their vaccination postponed to another day because previous visits took longer than we have allowed.

Wilton clinic at Michael Herbert Hall

Clinics for the second Pfizer vaccinations (only available at the GP-led clinics) will start for those patients who had their first vaccination in early January on Thursday 25 March 2021.

These will roll forward with regular clinics for the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines over the following weeks with a lot more vaccine scheduled to be delivered so that we can provide this service expeditiously.

We will telephone you to make the booking in to the GP-led service (as we did for your first vaccination).

Experience has shown that the AstraZeneca vaccination does not need a period of observation in the Hall following vaccination unless you have had a serious allergic reaction to something else.  If that does not apply to you then you will be able to leave the hall immediately after the vaccination but must wait for 15 minutes before driving in case you have a non-allergic reaction like feeling light-headed.

Car Parking (New)

The clinics administering the AstraZeneca vaccine can vaccinate up to 800 people in a day and that is too many for the adjacent car park.  The PCN has negotiated the use of the car park five minutes’ walk away at Wilton Shopping Village (now known as The Guild).  If you are able to walk from there please can you use The Guild car park so that the one by the Hall is available for those with reduced mobility.  The walk alongside the stream with the spring flowers is particularly lovely at the moment.

First vaccination done elsewhere

In general if your first vaccination was not done by a GP-led service (home visit or at the Michael Herbert Hall) the second vaccination should be done by the organisation that did the first.  Equally if we did your first vaccination we should do the second.

The mass vaccination clinics were given security of vaccine supply that was not possible to give to the GP-led clinics and this is why they were able to book the second vaccination at the same time they booked the first and why we could not.  The GP-led clinics only get a about a month’s provisional notice of the next delivery and even then it can be changed at short notice.  However we can contact you quickly to book your appointment whilst the mass vaccination clinics have to wait for people to book and hope they turn up to the appointment.  That is why it is so helpful if you book to the right clinic and if you have to change please remember to tell the clinic that you are cancelling so they can book someone else into that slot and don’t waster vaccine or staff time.

If you have had a first vaccination in our service and have booked a second to a mass vaccination clinic (this should not be possible but you may have contacted the national booking system having heard about it and not realised they cannot book to our clinics and they had not spotted they had not done your first vaccination and asked you to wait for your invitation from us) you can cancel that appointment and have the second vaccination from us.

We can do the second vaccination for a small number of patients vaccinated elsewhere the first time if returning to the first vaccination location is impossible (e.g. vaccinated in a care home but now back in your own home or moved into the area from far way).

Information about the vaccinations

You will be given the same vaccine that you had last time (Pfizer or AstraZeneca)

The process at the Hall apart from asking patients having the AstraZeneca vaccine to park at the Shopping Village car park and not having to wait in the Hall after vaccination is the same as last time.

Side effects

Having vaccinated over 10,000 patients in our service and well over 22 million nationally there is a better understanding of potential side effects.  Despite media misinterpretations of data there have been no deaths attributable to ether vaccine and a very small number of severe allergic reactions that have been managed quickly and appropriately.  The MHRA is aware of reports of blood clots in a small number of the millions vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine and do not feel these were due to the vaccine and that it is safe to continue the programme.  We agree with this decision.

Most people have had minimal side effects but a small number have felt unwell enough to need to stay in bed for a day of two afterwards, need paracetamol and felt generally pretty unwell – like a bad dose of ‘flu. Strangely patients who had had two vaccinations have reported side effects to the first but less to the second and vice versa.  The only contraindication to a second vaccination is if you have had a severe allergic reaction to the first (one needing adrenaline injection and hospital care) and we have had no reports of any of these in our patients who have been vaccinated.

If you have had Covid-19 you should still have both vaccinations.  The virus does stimulate some immunity but it is not as strong as from the vaccination and the vaccination seems to produce an even better response in those who have had Covid-19.  There are a few reports of patients with long-Covid who symptoms have lifted a few days after vaccination.

More research is being done on this virus and the vaccinations than for any other previous illness with more information from large numbers of people.  You can self-report side effects yourself to the MHRA site https://coronavirus-yellowcard.mhra.gov.uk/ and we encourage you to do this if you had side effects sufficient to interfere with your normal activities.

Please bring your Covid-19 vaccination card to your appointment

How do I find out more information about the vaccination?

Your card has the website details www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine

The briefing we sent you before your first vaccination has a lot of this information and local details and this is on the www.hindonsurgery.co.uk

Our staff may be able to answer queries but please don’t ring them to book a appointment (we will ring you when it is your turn) or ask questions that can be answered from looking at the information above.  We are still having to provide all the normal surgery work and are having around 25% more patient contacts that a year ago and each one is taking longer.  We have installed a new telephone system to cope with the increased volume of calls but we cannot employ ever more staff to answer an unlimited number of calls as they all need to socially distance and the space in the current building is severely constrained.  We thank all our patients who have not contacted us with problems they could solve in other ways or to ask when they will get their next vaccination – getting this briefing means we will be ringing you soon.

Future vaccinations

There are no current plans to deliver the GP-led part of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in other locations or in a different way.  That means these vaccinations will not be done in an individual practice clinic but will continue in the GP-led clinic at the Michael Herbert Hall in Wilton and in care homes or home visits to the housebound.

The Primary Care Network of local GPs is discussing how to extend the programme to younger low risk adults aged 49 to 18 and is awaiting more detailed information from the NHS.  We need this to avoid the chaos of running parallel systems that cannot communicate with each other.  As soon as we know how these vaccinations will be delivered locally we will let these patients know in the same way as we disseminate this information to you.

We have had no information about booster vaccinations and know as much or as little as you do from the speculation in national media about another campaign this autumn.  However it will be very important that everyone entitled to the free NHS annual ‘flu vaccination in the autumn takes up this offer and we will tell patients about this closer to the date.  It will be done by the practice as usual (we just don’t know quite how we will do it this year as so much depends on what Covid-19 is doing by then).

All of the other childhood and vaccinations are being done in the surgery (or surgery car park) as usual and it is important that everyone keeps up to date for these including having the vaccinations given at schools.  For adults having a shingles, pneumonia or tetanus vaccination this is fine provided it is at least seven days away from the Covid-19 vaccination.  We have stopped doing travel vaccinations and if you need these please contact a private travel clinic.

Dr Patrick Craig-McFeely and Dr Sally Hayes

Partners, Hindon Surgery

15 March 2021