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COVID-19 vaccine update 20 April 2021

Briefing Update:  Covid-19 Vaccination Programme

Progress update

Thanks to the thousands of people involved, the NHS has now offered vaccines to everyone aged 50 and over as well as millions of health and social care workers, unpaid carers and people at higher clinical risk, and delivered over 33 million first doses.

Locally too, the NHS Covid-19 vaccination programme continues to make strong progress. To date, we have given more than 428,608 COVID-19 vaccine doses across the Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System (ICS). COVID-19 vaccinations data for doses provided by the NHS in England is here

The programme proceeds at pace, with people aged 45 to 49 now invited to book their appointments as can be seen here.

Use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine

Recently there have been reports of an extremely rare condition involving the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and blood clots. As a precautionary measure while this is being carefully reviewed, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has now advised that it is preferable for adults aged under 30, who don’t have underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease, to be offered an  alternative vaccine when it is their turn to be vaccinated. 

For those in this age group who have had already their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine and had no adverse reactions, they should still come forward for their second dose when invited.

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.

For people in older age groups, the JCVI has stated that the benefits of prompt vaccination with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine far outweigh the risks.

Accessing vaccination appointments in April

As the Government have explained, the number of vaccine doses available during April will be much lower than it has been through March. Combined with the need to provide second doses to those who had their first in January, this means that the availability of first dose appointments will be limited across the country.

The vast majority of people in JCVI eligibility groups 1-9 have already had their first dose. To ensure that nobody is left behind, we are continuing to encourage people who are currently eligible to book their first dose, if they haven’t already, and local services are redoubling efforts to reach those who have not responded to an invitation yet. For this reason, booking of new appointments for first doses of the vaccine through the National Booking Service will be more limited in April.

Any member of the public in cohorts 1-9 who is eligible, but is unable to get an appointment through the National Booking Service, including unregistered carers for people who are clinically vulnerable, can now contact their GP practice.

Any remaining health and social care workers can continue to access their first dose through their employer, or they can also speak to their GP.

All patients in cohort 10 aged 45-49 should wait to be called. Please do not contact your GP practice about vaccinations unless you are in cohorts 1-9.

People with appointments already booked should attend their scheduled appointments.

Vaccination during Ramadan

Across two mosques in Slough and one in Maidenhead, Covid-19 vaccinations will continue at pop-up sites, during the day, throughout Ramadan. For more information, click here.

The British Islamic Medical Association has issued specific advice here urging Muslims observing Ramadan not to delay getting the vaccine, drawing on analysis from Islamic scholars which says that injections for non-nutritional purposes do not invalidate the fast. There is no material of foetal or animal origin in either of the available vaccines and the full ingredient lists are published online by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA): Oxford/AstraZeneca and Pfizer/BioNTech.

Pilot project: vaccinating residents of multigenerational households in Slough

As a part of a short pilot project in Slough, we are vaccinating those living in multi-generational households*. We have consistently seen relatively high rates of viral Covid-19 transmission within multi-generational households during Autumn/Winter 2020. Even complete compliance with lockdown rules would not stop this transmission due to the multi-generational, high density and high occupancy households. The employment profile in Slough means very few can stay at home entirely and relatively fewer are able to work at home compared to the England average. Large numbers of cohorts 1-9 live with people outside these cohorts who will bring infection home with them. The pilot will not be able to vaccinate every multigenerational household, but once the pilot has been evaluated, decisions will be made about next steps.

Through pilot projects such as this one we hope to trial new ways to protect the most vulnerable in our communities and to help stop the transmission of the virus. 

* A multi-generational household is any household that has at least one person aged 65 or over, or clinically extremely vulnerable, living within the same house as another person, aged 20 years and younger.

Second doses - when will I be contacted and where will I be vaccinated?

For many of those who were vaccinated at the start of the programme, the time will come over the next few weeks to return for their second dose. The first dose of both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine offer good levels of protection, but to get maximum protection from COVID-19, everyone will need to get a second dose. We are therefore urging people to come forward for their second dose of the vaccine when they are contacted or if they have an appointment booked. 

People who received their first dose in a hospital hub or through a GP service will be contacted to receive their second dose, if not booked already. If, you do not have your second dose appointment confirmed by your 11th week, please contact your GP surgery to let them know.

People who booked their appointments through the national booking service (online at www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by ringing 119) will have booked both their first and second appointments at the same time. People who rang 119 will have been given details of their second appointment over the phone. People who booked online can remind themselves of the place and time of their second dose using the ‘manage my appointments’ section on www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.

Please remember……

  • unless you have been invited before, please don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccination, we will contact you when it is the right time;
  • please attend your booked appointments at exactly the time you’re asked to, and make sure you come back for your second dose;
  • and whether you have had your vaccination or not, please continue to follow all the guidance in place to control the virus and save lives

Keep abreast of vaccination updates

  • For more information on the vaccine, please visit nhs.uk/covid-vaccination
  • Have you got questions? Check our FAQs here
  • Numbers of vaccinations provided by the NHS in England is available here
  • Frimley Health and Care Integrated Care System website here for public information leaflets and latest news
  • Follow and share messages from our social media accounts:
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    • Twitter - @FrimleyHC