COVID-19 : Vaccination guidance

09/04/2021

****We are currently issuing letters to all patients due their second dose of Pfizer to book them into a clinic in early April.  If you have not received your letter by Wednesday 7th April please call the surgery****.

For those aged 50-60 please see the JCVI schedule below for an update on the expected date of your vaccine.

Update on Astra Zeneca Safety Concerns:

The JCVI has issued advice regarding use of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine. This is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/use-of-the-astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccine-jcvi-statement/jcvi-statement-on-use-of-the-astrazeneca-covid-19-vaccine-7-april-2021.

In summary, the JCVI advises that:

  • It is preferable for adults aged <30 years without underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease, to be offered an alternative COVID-19 vaccine, if available. (i.e. such individuals who are resident in Highland should be offered the Pfizer vaccine, if available)
    • However, it's recognised that such individuals may make an informed choice to receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to receive earlier protection.
  • To date, there are no reports of the extremely rare thrombosis/thrombocytopenia events following receipt of the second dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. All those who have received a first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine should continue to be offered a second dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, irrespective of age.
    • This advice assumes that individuals did not experience any significant reactions or events following their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine.
    • If an individual experienced a significant reaction or event following their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID vaccine, advice regarding further vaccination should be sought.
  • All individuals offered a COVID-19 vaccine should be fully informed about the benefits and risks of vaccination.

 The MHRA has also issued advice regarding use of the AstraZeneca vaccine. This is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/mhra-issues-new-advice-concluding-a-possible-link-between-covid-19-vaccine-astrazeneca-and-extremely-rare-unlikely-to-occur-blood-clots.

In summary, the MHRA advises that:

  • Administration of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca in people of any age who are at higher risk of blood clots because of their medical condition should be considered only if benefits from the protection from COVID-19 infection outweighs potential risks.
  • Pregnancy predisposes to thrombosis, therefore women should discuss with their healthcare professional whether the benefits of having the vaccine outweigh the risks for them.
  • Anyone who has symptoms four days or more after vaccination is advised to seek prompt medical advice, such as:
    • A new onset of severe or persistent headache, blurred vision, confusion or seizures.
    • Develop shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain.
    • Unusual skin bruising or pinpoint round spots beyond the injection site.

This link provides further information for patients on side affects after vaccination: Vaccine Side Effects

General Guidance

  • This page is updated regularly.  We respectfully ask that you do not call the practice to inquire as to when you will receive your vaccination and refer to this web page for all information. 
  • Please refer to the vaccine schedule below to see the due date of the vaccine for your age group.  All of these dates are dependent on there being sufficient vaccine supply so may be amended from time to time following advice from NHS Highland. 
  • We will contact you when you are eligible to be vaccinated.  Please ensure you keep us up to date in any changes to your address and phone number.  We are phoning patients to arrange appointments so it is vital we have the correct details on record.
  • Please note that due to the volume of vaccines we have to issue (circa 10,000) we cannot have individual discussions with each patient to discuss the pro's and cons of the vaccine.  Generally speaking the advice is to receive the vaccine when offered. Patients are advised to carry out their own research if they want in depth information and ultimately the decision on whether to have the vaccine is a personal decision. 
  • You will not receive a choice of which type of vaccine you receive as our supplies are determined by national vaccine availability.
  • If you wish to decline the vaccine and have not advised our staff of this please email our team on nhsh.gp55751-admin@nhs.scot to inform us of your decision so we can record this on your file so that you will no longer be contacted the surgery.
  • At present there are no national plans to provide a vaccination card to prove that you have received your vaccine.  This is something which is decreed at Government level and is not in the control of GP Practices.  As per NHS Highland guidance we will not be issuing letters to patients to confirm vaccination.
  • It is normal to have some side effects follwing vaccination.  This can include feeling flu like symptoms, tiredness, headaches and stomach upsets.  This will normally subside within 48 hours.  Please click the link above entitled Vaccine Side Effects for further information.

Latest News- Last updated 08/04/2021:

Vaccination supply of Astra Zeneca has improved following a recent shortage and we are now in receipt of vaccines to allow us to vaccinate patients 50-59 for their first dose. 

We are issuing letters to all patients who are due the second dose of Pfizer vaccine so they can receive their complete course. If you have had a Pfizer vaccine and do not receive a letter by 7th April, please call the practice. We are also currently arranging clinics for patients aged 50-59 to receive their first dose.

All patients aged 75+ now have had their complete course of COVID vaccine.  

We have given patients aged 65+, those categorised as shielding, patients aged 16-64 at risk and those aged 60-64 their first dose.  If you have not yet been vaccinated and fall into these categories and would like to receive the vaccine please contact the surgery to find out when we can accommodate you.

Vaccine schedule as per JCVI 

This is the order in which people will be vaccinated as per guidance from the Scottish Government.  Dates of vaccination are dependent on availability of vaccine.  We are allocated vaccine from NHS Highland who have their allocations determined by the Scottish Government.  

The JCVI schedule changed on 16th March 2021 due to a shortage in vaccine supply.  The revised dates are listed below:

1. all those 80 years of age and over and front line health and social care workers - both doses given 
2. all those 75 years of age and over- due mid February 2021- first dose completed - both doses given 
3. all those 70 -74 years of age and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals - first dose completed- no date confirmed yet for 2nd dose although we are hoping to be able to offer this mid April.
4. all those 65 years of age and over-first dose completed and no date yet available for 2nd dose.
5. carers and all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions**(see below) which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality - first dose given.

6. all of those aged 60-64 of age-  first dose given.
7. all those 55-59 years of age- target date is 15th April 2021- 08/04/2020: Vaccinations are currently being undertaken to meet the 15th April deadline.  Patients will receive a phonecall or letter inviting them to attend a clinic
8. all those 50-54 years of age - target date is 15th April 2021- 08/04/2020: Vaccinations are currently being undertaken to meet the 15th April deadline.  Patients will receive a phonecall or letter inviting them to attend a clinic

9: all those aged 16-49 - target date is 31st July 2021

**  The criteria for at risk is defined differently from the flu vaccine.  

If you receive the flu vaccine due to asthma you may not be automatically eligible for the Covid vaccine.  Patients who have a history of hospital admissions and/or those who require repeated doses oral steroids are included in the at risk group ie at least 3 doses over the past 2 years.  Those patients whose asthma is well controlled on inhalers are not included within the at risk criteria and will receive their vaccine according to their age group.  Patients including those whose asthma is well controlled on steroid inhalers are not considered high risk and will be vaccinated according to their age.  This is advice from the Scottish Government and the practice cannot deviate from this advice.

Guidance on attending the surgery for your appointment:

When you are contacted you will be given a date and time for your appointment.  This will be only date available so you should do everything possible to attend on the date given.  This is due to restrictions with both availability of vaccine and the shelf life of the vaccine so unlike the flu clinics there is not a choice of dates and times available.

The receptionist will go through information you need on the phone but on the day of your appointment you should make your way to the rear of the building where you will be directed by staff.  You will have to remain in the building for 15 minutes after your vaccination if you receive the Pfizer vaccine.

  • Do not attend if you have any symptoms of COVID-19- fever, persistent cough, loss of or change to taste and smell
  • Do not attend if you are currently self isolating
  • Do not attend if you have had a positive COVID test in the last 4 weeks

On the day:

  • Arrive on time- not early or late so we can manage queues and traffic and ensure that social distancing is maintained.
  • Come alone unless you require a carer/assistance.  If you are receiving the Pfizer vaccine there is a requirement to wait for 15 minutes after you are vaccinated.  Whomever you bring will be required to wait outwith the building during the 15 minute period post vaccination so we can ensure social distancing as we have limited room inside the building.  Thereafter they can collect you to assist you out of the building.
  • You will only receive your COVID vaccination- no other health matters will be discussed and you will not be able to request prescriptions.
  • Wear loose clothing that allows easy access to your arm and where possible avoid wearing many layers (although we appreciate this is more difficult for our more elderly patients.)
  • Please adhere to social distancing at all times.

Click here for the most up to date government guidance regarding the COVID-19 vaccination or call the Scottish Covid-19 Vaccination Helpline on 0800 030 8013 between 8am and 8pm, 7 days a week for assistance with general inquiries.



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