Croydon Covid-19 Vaccine Update and FAQs
The vaccination programme is expanding across South West London and there are now over 238,000 vaccines across 40 vaccination centres, including 25 GP led centres, 8 hospital hubs, 4 pharmacy-led services and 3 large vaccination centres. With over 70% of vaccines delivered at primary care sites GPs have been leading the way in vaccinating local people to make sure vaccines are offered to all over 70s and front-line health and care staff by Monday 15 February 2021.
Everyone aged 70 and over who hasn’t yet had an invitation for a vaccination is being asked to come forward and contact the NHS to book a jab through the national booking service – www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119 free of charge between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. The national booking service allows people to book an appointment at their nearest large vaccination centre or pharmacy service. If a suitable and convenient slot is not available people can also call their GP practice.
FAQs about the vaccine and booking an appointment from NHS South West London Clinical Commissioning Group
I am confused about my second dose of the vaccine. Can you explain this to me?
Both vaccines have been authorised on the basis of two doses because the evidence from the clinical trials shows that this gives the maximum level of protection. To ensure as many people are vaccinated as quickly as possible, the Department for Health and Social Care now advise that the second dose of both the Oxford/AstraZeneca and the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine should be scheduled up to 12 weeks apart. The evidence doesn’t show any risk to not having the second dose other than not being as protected as you otherwise would be. Please be reassured that there are no safety concerns in the new guidance, and it will not impact on how effective the vaccination is in protecting you from Covid-19 once the course is complete.
You do not need to do anything to arrange your second dose. The NHS will contact you with your appointment details. Wait to be contacted. The second dose completes the course and is likely to be important for longer-term protection. It’s important to get both doses to protect yourself against coronavirus.
You may have a second appointment booked already and you should have a record card with details of your next appointment written on it, this will be around 12 weeks after your first appointment and at the same location where you received your first dose.
What happens if I am over 70 and haven’t been contacted by my GP?
Until now the NHS has asked people to wait until they are contacted to help ensure that those who are most vulnerable are protected first- and that remains the case for most people. However, whilst we have now vaccinated well over 84% of over 70s, to ensure absolutely everyone is offered the vaccine, people aged 70 and over can now contact the NHS so they can be vaccinated by the middle of this month. The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking services which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination. If you are unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm seven days a week. The national booking service allows people to arrange a vaccination at their nearest vaccination centre or pharmacy service. If a suitable and convenient slot is not available people can also call their GP practice.
Are the COVID-19 vaccines safe for people with long term conditions?
Vaccines will be approved if it is considered safe for people with long-term conditions. These vaccines are safe and effective for the vast majority of people – they have been tested on tens of thousands of people and assessed by experts. Your GP can advise on when you are eligible and will contact you with an appointment when it’s your turn.
A very small number of people who are at risk of COVID-19 cannot have the vaccine – this includes people who have severe allergies. Everybody will also be screened for potential allergic reactions before getting vaccinated. All vaccinators will have the training they need to deal with any rare cases of adverse reactions, and all venues will be equipped to care for people who need it – just like with any other vaccine.
The MHRA have updated their guidance to say that pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding can have the vaccine but should discuss it with a clinician to ensure that the benefits outweigh any potential risks. Women of childbearing age, those who are pregnant, or breastfeeding should read the detailed information available on NHS.UK.
What do I need to do before I get my vaccine?
The NHS will contact you and invite you to book a vaccine appointment when it’s your turn. You may receive a phone call, letter or text message from your GP practice or a letter from the national booking service, so it’s useful to:
- keep an eye out to make sure you receive the message (for example if you have a mobile phone but don’t typically use text messages)
- let your GP surgery know if you are caring for someone with underlying health conditions who would struggle to cope if you became unwell. You can help the vaccination effort by emailing your GP practice or using its website to make sure your local surgery knows you are an unpaid carer.
- update your contact details if they have changed lately – it’s a good time to make sure your GP practice has the most up to date information.
As long as you’re registered with a GP and have up to date contact details you should receive an invitation in due course. For more information how to register with a GP and to find your local surgery visit: www.nhs.uk/register
To find out about what to expect at your vaccine appointment please visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/what-happens-at-your-appointment/
Are teachers eligible to receive a vaccine?
The NHS is currently only offering vaccines to people within England’s first four priority groups, in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) guidelines. This does not include teachers, unless they also meet age or health-related criteria. Vaccinating the priority groups first will save the most lives and provide the quickest and safest route out of the pandemic.
Steven Reed is Labour MP for Croydon North and Shadow Minister for Children and Families. In 2018 his private member’s bill on reducing violent mental health restraint became law. In June 2019 he launched Labour’s civil society strategy outlining radical plans to empower citizens and communities.
Steve chairs the Cooperative Councils Innovation Network, co-chairs the All-Party Parliamentary Group for London, was Leader of Lambeth Council 2006-12 where he led the council’s children’s services to become best-rated in the country and pioneered the public-health approach to tackling violent youth crime. He worked in publishing for 16 years and was an elected trade union branch secretary.