Covid Vaccinations Q&A
Pfizer, Astrazeneca and Moderna vaccines have been approved for use by the MHRA and are being given as fast as stocks arrive. Moderna is currently not being distributed to GP Led vaccination sites.
How is the vaccination process going?
We were the first site to start vaccinating in Kingston and have currently vaccinated all adults aged 18 and above. We worked our way through the eligible cohorts as set out by the JCVI.
We are now onto the 2nd doses for Phase 2 of the vaccination programme.
The systems we have set up allow us to vaccinate quickly and efficiently so that we can deliver the vaccinations as soon as we receive them. At our vaccination site at Kingston University, we are able to vaccinate over 2000 patients in a single day.
Where will the vaccine be given?
The Pfizer-bioNtech has extremely strict cold chain requirements which make it unsuitable to be used at an individual general practice basis. We have established a local hub where our patients will be vaccinated. This will form an important part of the local vaccination effort alongside both hospital hubs and mass vaccination centres. This local hub is based at Kingston University.
Astrazeneca is much easier to transport and we are able to run AZ clinics at Kingston Health Centre. However, we may also run AZ clinics at Kingston University so we do not disrupt the practice if we are seeing large numbers of patients. The venue will be made clear to you at the time of appointment booking.
How will you contact me for my vaccine when I become eligible?
We have contacted all of our eligible patients and offered an appointment for a first dose. For your 2nd doses, we will contact you via text message with a link to book into our clinic and the venue will be stated on the text message. Due to the large number of eligible patients, we are unable to call each patient individually.
Who should not have the Astrazeneca vaccination?
- Individuals with a very rare immune reaction to low platelets and clotting together
- Individuals who have had heparin induced thrombocytopenia (low platelets)
- Individuals with antiphospholipid syndrome
- Individuals aged under 40 – IF THIS DOES NOT LEAD TO A DELAY IN GETTING VACCINATED. This is because this rare clotting risk is more common in younger patients and, at the same time, the risks of severe complications from Covid-19 are much lower and so the JCVI have decided that delaying vaccinating this group is less likely to be harmful than older groups.
I have had one dose of Astrazeneca, should I have my second?
Yes, absolutely. All the events so far have happened after a first dose and the evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of patients receiving full vaccination course.
When will I be invited for my second?
Recently, the guidance has changed from 12 weeks to 8 weeks for all patients. We have been working hard to arrange extra clinics, change delivery schedules and invite patients in earlier.
I am vulnerable, should my partner/relatives have the vaccination sooner?
The current advice is that those over 16 years of age who live with severely immunosuppressed adults are offered the Covid vaccination as a priority. We are awaiting further guidance on vaccinations for clinically vulnerable children.
They define severely immunosuppressed as:
- Patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- Patients who have had a solid organ transplant
- Bone marrow or stem cell transplant recipients
- Patients with HIV infections
- Conditions affecting the immune system – e.g. NEMO, IRAK-4, SCID
- Individuals receiving immunosuppressive or immunomodulation biological therapies
- Patients who are likely to be on steroids for more than a month
- Patients with a history of haematological malignancy, including leukaemia, lymphoma, lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
I am pregnant, what vaccine should I have?
The latest guidance is that pregnant women will be invited at the same time as the rest of the population, based on their age and clinical risk group.
It is preferable for pregnant women to be offered the Pfizer BioNtech or Moderna vaccination where possible. This is because these vaccines have been used most widely in pregnancies in other countries and have not caused any safety issues.
There are no reported concerns with the Astrazeneca vaccination in pregnancy, but there is less experience with the vaccine than with the Pfizer or Moderna.
If you had a first dose Astrazeneca pre pregnancy and are now due your second dose you can chose whether to have the second dose Astrazeneca, or defer until after pregnancy – however a second dose is recommended to ensure maximum protection against Covid-10.
Your midwife will be able to discuss the vaccination in more detail with you.
I am going away and need my second dose sooner than 8 weeks – can I book with you?
We are only allowed to offer second dose vaccines earlier in very specific medical circumstances namely patients due to start immunosuppressive treatment or chemotherapy. The JCVI guidance has recently been clarified that unless these circumstances are met patients should not have an earlier vaccination because the immunity the vaccinations provide will be much shorter lived and this could cause issues further down the line.
Can you provide me with confirmation I have had both vaccinations?
Unfortunately not, GPs are not allowed to provide letters showing vaccine status because this would be too open to fraud. Proof of vaccination can be obtained by NHS 111 or by calling 119 for a letter.
Further details can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/demonstrating-your-covid-19-vaccination-status-when-travelling-abroad
I had my vaccination abroad, can you add to my Covid vaccine pass?
The nationally provided vaccine data system does not currently have the capacity to add data from vaccinations administered abroad (this also includes Wales & Scotland). So for people who were vaccinated abroad the official vaccine passport is not currently available.
We can add to the medical records that the vaccinations were given and this will be documented on your patient record which is visible on the GP Health Records tab via NHS App.
Will I need to have a Covid vaccination booster?
We are awaiting the final JCVI advice for the Covid vaccination booster programme but the interim advice is that a third booster vaccination should be offered to the following groups in 2 stages ;
- Adults aged 16 years and over who are immunosuppressed (see guidance on this page around definition of immunosuppressed)
- Patients living in residential care homes for older adults
- All adults aged 70 years or over
- Adults aged 16 years and over who are considered clinically extremely vulnerable
- Frontline health and social care workers
Stage 2 (as soon as practically possible after Stage 1)
- All adults aged 50 years and over
- All adults aged 16 to 49 who are in the Covid-19 at risk group
- Adult household contacts of immunosuppressed individuals
Can I discuss my queries with a doctor?
While we would love to be able to have an individual discussion with patients there simply isn’t the capacity. Please read the information attached here to see if your questions are answered. If you have a specific question then you please email us first but be aware that we are currently receiving around 75 vaccine related questions each day which is stretching our resources.
General Practice is under unprecedented strain at the moment caused by built up demand, very long waits for secondary care appointments and managing the vaccination programme. At Kingston Health Centre we feel better placed than most to cope with this surge in demand and are doing all we can to expand clinics and all of our staff are working flat out.