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Wirral COVID-19 vaccine updates

Recently there have been reports of a very rare condition involving blood clots and unusual bleeding after vaccination. Although this condition remains extremely rare (around 4 people develop the condition for every million AZ doses given) there appears to be a higher risk in people shortly after the first dose of the AstraZeneca (AZ) vaccine.

The COVID-19 vaccine has been very successful with more than 30 million people vaccinated and more than 6,000 lives already saved. The vaccine can help stop you getting seriously ill or dying from coronavirus and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions or clotting problems, have been very rare.

 

Further information

Information about the AstraZeneca vaccine can be found on the .GOV website

Public Health England leaflets:

PHE COVID-19 AZ Vaccination Guide

PHE COVID-19 What to expect after your COVID-19 vaccination 

 

Over 50 years of age or with underlying medical conditions
The benefits of vaccination in protecting you against the serious consequences of COVID-19 outweigh any risk of this rare condition. You should also complete your course with the same vaccine you had for the first dose.
If your first dose was with AZ vaccine without suffering any serious side effects you should have the second dose on time as you may still be at high risk of the complications of COVID-19. Having the second dose will give you higher and longer lasting protection.

If you are a healthy person over 30 to 50 years of age
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advises that all adults in this age group (including health and social care workers) should still receive any of the available COVID-19 vaccines. The benefits of vaccination in protecting you against the serious consequences of COVID-19 outweigh any risk of this rare condition. You should also complete your course with the same vaccine you had for the first dose.

If you are a healthy younger person aged 18 to 29 (inc staff members and carers)
The MHRA and the JCVI continue to monitor the benefits and safety of the AZ vaccine in younger people. You will be offered the vaccine available at the time and should carefully consider the risk to both you and your family and friends of COVID-19 before making a decision.
Currently JCVI has advised that it is preferable for people under 30 to have a vaccine other than AZ. If you choose to have another COVID-19 vaccine you may have to wait or travel to a different PCN site or Clatterbridge, due to vaccine availability. You may wish to go ahead with the AZ vaccination after you have considered all the risks and benefits for you.

What about the second dose?
If you have already had a first dose of AZ vaccine without suffering any serious side effects you should complete the course. This includes people aged 18 to 29 years who are health and social care workers, unpaid carers and family members of those who are immunosuppressed.

The COVID-19 vaccine is available to people aged 50 and over.

The NHS in Wirral are encouraging anyone aged 50 or over to book their appointment as soon as possible.  Local appointments are currently available at Clatterbridge Vaccination Centre and local GP/PCN Vaccination Centres .

To book an appointment at Clatterbridge Vaccination Centre use the following link https://bit.ly/3cKnWTr You will need to know your NHS number. To find your NHS number please use the Find your NHS number service.

If you wish to book an appointment at a local GP/PCN vaccination centre, please contact your GP practice.

In line with national guidance, a process has been developed to offer known unpaid carers a vaccination under Priority Group 6, the aim of which is to protect the person they care for from Coronavirus. The identification of carers is being progressed in the following ways:

  • Those known to GPs who have a ‘carers flag’ on their primary care record
  • Those in receipt of or entitled to a carers allowance
  • Those known to Local Authorities who are in receipt of support following a carers assessment
  • Those known to local carers organisations and who are actively receiving care and support


We have worked with WIRED (Wirral Information Resource for Equality and Disability) to develop a process and known unpaid carers are now being notified and asked to contact WIRED to arrange a vaccination.

It is recognised that there are unpaid carers who will not be known to services and a process is being developed by the Department of Health and Social Care to enable these carers to be offered a vaccination. This will not only benefit the carers by offering them a vaccination but will also mean they can be assessed for any support requirements for which they may be eligible.

It is important to note that the offer of a vaccine under this process is to those people who care for anyone 16 years and over. There are exceptions for the carers of children under 16 years where the child has severe neuro-disabilities which would make them more vulnerable to complications from COVID-19. More information can be found on Pages 10-11 of the Green Book at the following link:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/961287/Greenbook_chapter_14a_v7_12Feb2021.pdf

If you care for a child who has severe neuro-disabilities and you haven’t already been contacted about the vaccine, please contact us via wiccg.intouch@nhs.net

The NHS in Wirral is now vaccinating people in the following priority groups:

  • all those 65 years of age and over
  • all individuals aged 16 years to to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality
  • all those in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or those who are the main carer of an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill

GP led sites are offering jabs to clinically vulnerable patients, while people aged 65 and over will in the first instance be invited to book a vaccination at one of the mass vaccination centres. Should somebody aged 65 to 69 want to wait to be called by their local GP vaccination service or who have already received the jab they do not need to respond to their invitation.

People aged 70 and over and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable (shielding) were in the first four groups prioritised for vaccination. The majority of people in Wirral within these groups have already received a first dose of the vaccine, however anyone who hasn’t should arrange their vaccination as soon as possible either by contacting their GP practice, emailng NHS Wirral CCG at WICCG.InTouch@NHS.net or using the national booking service.

People aged 70 and over who have not yet been vaccinated against COVID and who would like to be are today being asked to contact the NHS to arrange a jab.

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, 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 for people in Wirral to arrange an appointment at their local vaccination centre is by contacting their own GP practice or emailing NHS Wirral CCG at WICCG.InTouch@NHS.net

Many who have not yet booked an appointment are already receiving follow up letters and phone calls this week to encourage them to take up the offer of a jab.

For further information including other ways to book an appointment, please visit https://www.wirralccg.nhs.uk/news/call-for-people-aged-70-and-over-to-contact-nhs-for-a-covid-jab/

The vaccination programme in Wirral is being rolled out in line with national guidance.

All of our vaccination sites are currently prioritising vaccinating residents in groups 1 & 2 who are over 80 years of age, including care home residents and staff.

All sites are now offering vaccinations to people in groups 3 & 4 which include those over 70 years of age and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals.

Wirral is on track to offer vaccinations to all people in groups 1 – 4 by 15 February 2021.

The vaccination programme will take some time to work through so please don’t be worried if you or a family member is over 70 but hasn’t heard anything so far. You might know others over 70 who have been invited for their vaccination already, but that does not mean that you or your relatives are a lower priority. The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. Please do not contact your GP practice before then.

Groups of GP practices in Wirral along with Wirral University Teaching Hospital have started to deliver the Coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine to priority groups. The order by which people are vaccinated is determined by the independent Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

The initial part of the programme will prioritise groups 1 – 4 in order as determined by the JCVI, these are as follows:

Priority Group 1 - Residents in a care home for older adults and staff working in care homes for older adults
Priority Group 2 – All those aged 80 years and over and frontline Health and Care Workers
Priority Group 3 – All those aged 75 years of age and over
Priority Group 4 – All those aged 70 years of age and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals (not including pregnant women and those under 16 years of age)

A summary of the vaccination programme and definitions of those who are included in priority groups 1-4 can be found in the COVID-19 Green Book Chapter 14
https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/948757/Greenbook_chapter_14a_v4.pdf

The initial weeks of the vaccination programme have used the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, this has to be stored at ultra-low temperatures (-70C) prior to use. This, along with limited initial supplies have meant that priority has been given to those in groups 1 and 2 and who are able to attend a vaccination centre. The majority of vaccinations to date have been given to people 80 years and over.

The recent approval of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine means that more people in groups 1 – 4 can be offered their first dose of a vaccine and our aim is to have invited eligible groups for this first dose by 15/2/21. However, this may be subject change due to the supply and availability of the vaccines and any change in national guidance.

The vaccination programme will take some time to work through so people should not be worried if they or a family member is over 80 but hasn’t heard anything so far. They might know others over 80 who have been invited for their vaccination already, but that doesn’t mean that they are a lower priority. GPs and other practice staff are working hard to vaccinate as many people in this group as quickly as possible, and during January more people will be invited in, but it is only the start of the vaccination programme and it will take some time to work through everyone.

 

2nd dose of Pfizer/Biontech COVID-19 Vaccine

Further to the stakeholder briefing issued by NHS Wirral CCG on Friday 8th January 2021, a policy directive has been issued by NHS England on Sunday 10th January 2021. This states that any planned 2nd doses of the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine booked prior to 31st December 2020 will be cancelled with the available vaccine being given to those in the initial Priority Groups 1 & 2 who have not yet received a first dose of vaccine.

Any appointments booked for today, 11th January will go ahead as planned (where logistical difficulties make it impossible to cancel these patients at short notice) and those patients impacted by the cancellations will be contacted to rearrange their appointment in line with the national policy issued on 31st December 2020.

Support is being provided to Primary Care Networks to contact patients impacted by this change.

This change will result in more people in Priority Groups 1 and 2 receiving a first dose of vaccination and therefore more people in these groups will have a level of protection sooner than planned.

 

You don’t need to contact your GP practice or another NHS organisation to ask for your vaccination – or to request one for a member of your family – you will be invited when it is time for you to be vaccinated, either with a letter or a phone call.