Updated 15th January 2021
Covid-19 Questions & Answers
I've received a letter about booking my vaccination appointment - what should I do?
Letters are being sent inviting patients to book a vaccine appointment via the NHS website or by ringing 119. This being done by age cohort, in line with the JCVI guidance. This is an invitation to book an appointment at a mass vaccination centre - our local one is Ashton Gate stadium. You can do this by following the instructions in the letter. You do not need to do this if:
- You would prefer to get your vaccine at the practice. We can assure you that we have your details so you don't need to contact us - we will contact you when it's your turn.
- You already have an appointment booked with your practice to get your vaccine.
- You have already had your first dose with the practice - we'll contact you when it's time to come in for your second.
If you are unable to book an appointment using the details in the letter, don't worry. We have your details and we will contact you to invite you for an appointment very soon.
When will I get the vaccine?
Staff are working tirelessly to ensure the necessary measures are in place for those most at risk to get their vaccine first. To do this, we are following a nationally set prioritisation order, from which we are unable to deviate.
The priority list from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation is as follows:
- residents in a care home for older adults and their carers*
- all those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers**
- all those 75 years of age and over
- all those 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals
- all those 65 years of age and over
- all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
- all those 60 years of age and over
- all those 55 years of age and over
- all those 50 years of age and over
*Please note that 'carers' in this context refers to care home staff. If you are a personal or family carer you will be vaccinated within your age-related or clinically vulnerable group if that applies to you.
**Please note that frontline health and social care workers should contact their employer about getting their vaccination, not their registered GP surgery.
It is estimated that taken together, these groups represent around 99% of preventable mortality from COVID-19.
We are currently vaccinating patients in cohorts 1 and 2.
I'm in an eligible cohort. Should I call the practice if I haven't heard anything?
While a vaccination programme of this scale will take some time, we can assure you that everyone who needs the vaccine will be offered it. We ask that you don’t contact your practice directly – we will contact you when it is your turn to be vaccinated.
Why haven't I had my vaccine when others the same age already have?
All the GP surgeries in our area are now offering the vaccine to their eligible patients. Staff have been working tirelessly to get this up and running over the last month but the scale of the vaccination programme means that this could not happen in every GP surgery at once. This is the same across the country. If you are in an eligible cohort and you haven't yet heard from us, you do not need to contact us directly. We can assure you we have your details and we will contact you when it's your turn.
When will I get my second dose?
The NHS is following new guidance from the Government’s expert advisors which says that prioritising a first dose for as many people as possible will save more lives. This is because even with just one dose the vaccine has been estimated to offer at least 74% effectiveness from two weeks after it is given.
Therefore, as a key part of the national effort to protect as many people in at-risk groups as quickly as possible, second doses will now be delivered in the 12th week following your first dose. We will be in touch to schedule your second dose appointment soon.
We apologise if we have had to reschedule your appointment.
When will the next cohorts be vaccinated?
We are making great progress in vaccinating our patients in the first two cohorts. This includes patients who can visit the practice, as well as some who we need to vaccinate in their home or care home. When it is time to move onto the next cohort, we will be told by the government and they will arrange for us to get a vaccine delivery. Once this happens, we will contact you. The government ambition is to offer vaccines to everyone in the first 5 groups (13 million people) by the middle of February.
I have a question about the COVID vaccine - what should I do?
There is lots of information available online - try our GP surgery website. You can also try nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. We will get in touch with you when it is your turn to be vaccinated - you do not need to contact us to ask when this will be.
Updated 6th January 2021
Frontline Health and Social Care Workers
A second Covid vaccine (from Oxford/AstraZeneca) has now been authorised by the MHRA for use in the United Kingdom. As a result of this, the government has been able to substantially accelerate vaccine delivery. We expect to have access to more vaccine supply in January than in December, and more supply in February than in January, and so on.
This increased supply means that vaccination can now be immediately expanded to include frontline health and social care workers.
If you are a frontline health and social care worker, please contact us by sending an email to email@example.com
The information we will need from you is:
- Your full name and date of birth
- Your employing organisation
- Proof of employment (e.g emailing from a work email address, or getting a work colleague to email to verify that you work for that organisation)
- A contact number to get hold of you so that we can book you in for a covid vaccine appointment.
Government advice has been changed re dosing. A second dose now at 12 weeks not 3 weeks will also be needed.
16th December 2020
Following extensive trials, the first safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine has been approved in the UK and is now available to priority groups.
Heywood family Practice is working with other surgeries in our area to offer COVID-19 vaccination clinics. Vaccinations are being delivered according to priority groups identified by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
Due to the storage requirements and the fragility of the vaccine the government has mandated that the group of surgeries only vaccinate from one site. Our vaccination site will be in Portishead and details will be given when we contact you to make an appointment.
When it is the right time for you to receive your vaccination, you will receive an invitation to come forward. This may be via the phone, or through a text or letter either from your GP or the national booking system.
We know lots of people will be eager to get protected but we are asking people not to contact us to get an appointment as you will not be able to get one until you are contacted.
You need 2 doses, 3 weeks apart. We will book both appointments at the same time. It is very important that you attend both appointments. The immune protection will take some weeks to be relied upon.
For those that are interested about details on the vaccine itself, there is already lots of information about the Pfizer Biontech vaccine in the public domain. Please click on the links below for more information.
- COVID-19 Vaccination - What to expect after vaccination
- COVID-19 Vaccination - Guide for Older Adults
- COVID-19 Vaccination - Women of Childbearing Age
Guidance for patients who have been invited to a COVID-19 vaccination clinic
- It is very important that you attend both appointments but please do not come if you have any possible COVID symptoms.
- If you are not able to attend you must let us know as soon as possible.
- Please come into the surgery independently. Any carers or people that bring you down must wait outside.
- You will need to wait for 15 minutes after your vaccination.
- Please arrive at the time of your appointment and queue in the marquee at the side of the surgery
- Please wear a face mask
- Please wear short sleeves or a vest-sleeved top so that we can access your upper arm easily
- Please park in the Homebase car park across the road if possible to reduce congestion near the surgery
- You should not have any other vaccinations within 7 days before or after your COVID vaccination
7th December 2020
You will have heard that a COVID vaccination programme is very soon going to be rolled out to the first eligible cohort of patients. We have to mobilise and adapt very quickly to enable the successful roll out of this programme. We hope to be in the 2nd or 3rd rollout wave in which the vaccine will be delivered to the vaccine delivery site sometime towards the end of December 2020. Initially our vaccine delivery site is likely to be in Portishead.
The first people to be invited by us will be those 80 years old and over. Other age groups will follow. Please avoid calling the practice for further information on Covid-19 vaccination as we will contact patients in order of priority.
We also need your support. As things are moving so quickly we may need to call you or send out text invites in case the Post Office is not able to deliver letters on time. To that end, if you know or care for someone over 80 we need you ask them if they have a mobile or landline number registered at the surgery and to check if it is correct. We will of course have back-up systems in place for those patients that don’t have mobile phones.
In order to support General Practice in delivering this programme, NHS England and the CCG have issued clear guidance on creating capacity by focussing only on urgent work and certain key areas. This means we may have to re-prioritise non urgent work and cancel non-urgent appointments at short notice. We would like to reassure you that as always, we will continue to offer urgent care throughout this time.
Additionally, you will be used to receiving invites for health reviews. However, certain reviews (e.g. Asthma, COPD and Diabetes etc.) may be temporarily interrupted at times over the next 4 months. Please do not be alarmed if you do not receive an invite for review - we may have to be focussing on delivering COVID vaccinations and will aim to catch-up on reviews and monitoring bloods when possible.
As you can appreciate, the landscape is changing very quickly and our priority remains the care of our patients whilst delivering this programme. Thank you for your patience and support.
Heywood Family Practice