09/04/2021- Safety of the AstraZeneca Vaccination
For our population the benefits of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine outweigh any risks for the vast majority and you should still book your COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.
Recently, there have been reports of a very rare condition involving blood clots and unusual bleeding after vaccination. Although this condition remains extremely rare there appears to be a higher risk in people shortly after the first dose of the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine.
Around 4 people develop this condition for every million doses of AZ vaccine doses given. This is seen slightly more often in younger people and tends to occur between 4 days and 2 weeks following vaccination. This is being carefully reviewed but the risk factors for this condition are not yet clear.
This condition can also occur naturally, and clotting problems are a common complication of COVID-19 infection. An increased risk has not yet been seen after other COVID-19 vaccines but is being carefully monitored.
Following advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), we will be offering people under 30 who have not yet had their first COVID-19 vaccination, a choice of vaccine other than AZ. If you choose to have an alternative vaccine you may have to wait to be protected. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.
If you are under 30 years of age and in cohort 2 (health and social care worker), Cohort 4 (Clinically Extremely Vulnerable CEV) or cohort 6 (Clinically vulnerable, a carer or live with an immunocompromised person) then please contact us and inform reception who will add you to a list we can contact when alternative vaccines become available.
If you are under 30 and not in the above cohorts please do NOT contact the practice until you are called for your vaccine but you may find the link and the attached information useful to help you decide.
This leaflet (link) from Public Health England provides more information about the benefits and risks of the AZ COVID-19 vaccination.
Also the PDF attached produced by Cambridge University looks at risk benefits. You have to consider relative risk which is a difficult concept.
What are my options:
- Remain unvaccinated and at risk of contracting Covid , becoming very unwell or being left with Long Covid but accepting this risk which is small of becoming very ill. (See chart for your own risk of this)
- Accepting the vaccination when called and being protected against serious illness and Long Covid symptoms but accepting the risk. (See chart for your own risk of this.)
If you have already had a first dose of AZ vaccine without suffering a blood clot as a side effect, you should have your second dose. This includes people aged 18 to 29 years who are health and social care workers and unpaid carers.
The benefits of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine outweigh any risks for the vast majority of people and you should still book your COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.
23/02/2021 - Cohort 6
We are receiving lots of calls from patients asking when they will be vaccinated. Sadly, some of these patients are being demanding and abusive towards our staff.
Priority Group 6 is large and covers a wide age range, and many health conditions. If you believe you are in Cohort 6, please do not contact the NHS - we will contact you. We appreciate that it can be confusing for individuals to know if they belong to one group or another. At this stage we are following a series of nationally defined criteria and that allows us to contact the people we want to come forward for vaccination.
We are working tirelessly to vaccinate our patients as quickly as possible using every potential slot and every dose of vaccine as soon as we receive it. Please be patient and kind to our staff; we will be in touch when it is your turn.
19/02/2021 - Vaccination Groups Update
You may have seen from the news recently that cohorts 5 and 6 are now starting to be vaccinated.
Cohort 5, patients aged between 65 and 70, will start to receive letters this week offering them the opportunity to book an appointment with one of the mass vaccination centres or pharmacies delivering vaccine clinics. GP practices will not be actively inviting these patients any further. However should you prefer to have your vaccine with us, please let us know and we can add you to our list of patients to book.
For cohort 6 we are currently prioritising in age order, given that age is considered to be the most significant risk factor for Covid. If you are in cohort 6, we will be in touch soon.
With regards to unpaid carers, we are awaiting a formal definition from the JCVI on who is eligible. Once we have this we will review our carers' register and take action accordingly.
And lastly we are aware that the government has extended the criteria for patients who need to shield. We have not yet received an update to our clinical system to allow us to identify if any of our patients are now being told to shield. Communications directly to these patients are coming centrally via letter or email. We have also not had confirmation whether these patients should book their vaccine with us or via the central booking programme. As soon as we have more information we will post it here.
14/01/2021 - Covid-19 vaccination: please wait your turn to be called
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.
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.
It is estimated that taken together, these groups represent around 99% of preventable mortality from COVID-19. You can find out more about the local roll-out in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire here: COVID-19: Mass vaccination - Healthier Together (bnssghealthiertogether.org.uk)
07/01/21 - Advice for those waiting for a planned operation of procedure
The Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group has published an information page for people awaiting a routine planned operation or procedure.
The page summarises the current position regarding the impact of COVID-19 on planned operations and procedures in this area and includes links to useful information on ‘active waiting’ and staying well while awaiting a planned procedure. Advice on mental health and pain management and further sources of guidance is also provided.
16/11/20 - Healthier Together open letter to patients
Please find attached the latest open letter to patients from Healthier Together regarding the high pressure that the local healthcare system is under and guidance on how to stay safe throughout the pandemic.