COVID-19 : Vaccination guidance

Latest News- Last updated 29/07/2021:

JCVI advice on children aged 12 and over

This week, the JCVI issued advice that children at increased risk of serious COVID-19 disease are offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.  This includes children aged 12 to 15 with severe neurodisabilities, Down’s syndrome, immunosuppression and multiple or severe learning disabilities.

The JCVI also recommends that children and young people aged 12 to 17 who live with an immunosuppressed person should be offered the vaccine. This is to indirectly protect their immunosuppressed household contacts, who are at higher risk of serious disease from COVID-19 and may not generate a full immune response to vaccination.

Under existing advice, young people aged 16 to 17 with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious COVID-19 should have already been offered vaccination by the practice. The JCVI is not currently advising routine vaccination of children outside of these groups, based on the current evidence.

Planning for the vaccination of these children is in the early stages but it is anticipated that these vaccines will be available at the end of August and the vaccination will be undertaken by NHS professionals out with GP Practices.

Turning 18 within the next 3 months?

  • From now, the vaccine may be offered to all 17 year olds who are within 3 months of turning 18 years of age.  If your 18th birthday falls between 1st August and 31st October 2021, you are eligible to attend a walk in clinic to receive your vaccine as we are no longer administering first dose vaccines within the practice (see below)

Still require your first dose?  We are no longer issuing first doses of the COVID vaccine but are carrying on giving 2nd doses to those patients who have received their 1st dose at the surgery (or for new patients requiring a second dose, having received their first at a different practice).  If you have not yet had your first dose and would like to, please click here for details of walk in clinics run by NHS Highland.  As the name suggests, there is no appointment needed, just turn up wearing a face covering and preferably wearing loose clothing.  You may have a short wait.  These clinics are providing doses of Astra Zeneca and Pfizer to people over the age of 18.  Dates are continually being added to this page so please consult this often for updates.  If you receive your first dose at a walk in clinic, you should be recalled by NHS Highland to attend a further walk in clinic for your second dose 8 weeks later.

General Guidance

Every eligible patient has been contacted by text and or letter to invite them to receive their vaccine.  If you have not yet received contact from the surgery, please call us on 01463 793400 so we can check your details and book you into a vaccine clinic.

    • Please refer to this page rather than phoning the practice for up to date information.

    • We will contact you when you are eligible to be vaccinated by text.   Please ensure you keep us up to date in any changes to your address and phone number. 

    • In line with Government protocol, you will not receive a choice of which type of vaccine you receive.  All patients aged 18-39 will be offered Pfizer and those over 40 will be offered Astra Zeneca.



Patients aged 18-39: The vaccination process: Facts you should be aware of:

    • Vaccines have a very limited shelf life.  Once a vial is opened it has to be used within 5 hours.  We can only therefore vaccinate patients in groups that allow a whole vial to be used up (6 patients for Pfizer, 9 for Astra Zeneca).  We cannot therefore vaccinate people out with planned clinics as we can’t open a vial for one or 2 people as we cannot waste the remaining doses. This means there is not a lot of flexibility around appointment times and we ask that patients (and employers) understand this and be as accommodating and as flexible as possible.
    • The Pfizer vaccine has a 31 day expiry date, meaning that we have to plan clinics around expiry dates to avoid vaccine wastage.
    • There are plans to have a COVID vaccination booster programme later this year.  The details of this are still tbc and will be published when available. 
    • Current Government guidance indicates that you need to be fully vaccinated in order to travel abroad.  To receive a full course of vaccine takes a minimum of 8 weeks.  You should therefore consider, before declining the vaccine whether you wish or need to travel in the next 12 months.  If you do, then you are strongly advised to book your vaccination asap.  Please see below for the latest information regarding proof of vaccination for travel.  We are no longer issuing first dose vaccines so please attend an NHS Highland walk in clinic if you still require a vaccine.
    • There are a lot of social media posts surrounding the vaccines. Comments on social media are often opinion rather than fact.  Patients are advised to carry out their own research to gain in depth information.  Generally speaking, the advice of medical professionals is to receive the vaccine.  Ultimately the decision on whether to have the vaccine is a personal decision.  

    • It is normal to have some side effects following vaccination.  This can include feeling flu like symptoms, tiredness, headaches and stomach upsets.  This will normally subside within 48 hours.  Please click on this link for further information.

 Proof of vaccination

The Government have announced that they have set up a portal whereby people can log in to request proof of vaccination.  This is intended to be used only by people who have booked international travel.  There are plans to issue digital vaccination certificates in the future.  Please follow this link to find this information online and to be able to access your records: Get a record of your Covid vaccination.  As per Government protocol, GP Practices will not be issuing letters to patients to provide proof of vaccination.

 

JCVI Vaccine schedule

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. 

 

JCVI cohorts 1-10: All patients have received both doses.

Cohorts 11- Patients aged 30-39: All patients in this cohort have been contacted and offered their first dose.  Patients in this age range will be contacted around 8 weeks after their first dose to invite them to receive their final dose.

Cohort 12 – Patients aged 18-29: All patients in this cohort have been contacted and offered their first dose.  Patients in this age range will be contacted around 8 weeks after their first dose to invite them to receive their final dose.

Cohorts 11 & 12:  Invites are being issued by text.  We also issue letters to those who have not yet responded.  If you have not yet heard from the practice please call us on 01463 793400 to check that we have the correct information on file for you. 

If you do not wish to have the vaccine please let us know as we will keep contacting you unless we have been told you wish to decline.  You can email us to advise us of this on nhsh.gp55751-admin@nhs.scot or phone 01463 793400.

 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, as outlined above, so unlike flu clinics or routine appointments there are not a choice of dates and times available.

The receptionist will go through information you need on the phone including which entrance to use.  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 or have been contact traced awaiting a test

    • 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.  Queues build when people arrive early so please enter the surgery at your allotted time.

    • 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.

    • Please adhere to social distancing at all times.



Importance of cancelling in advance of your appointment if you are unable to attend:

Vaccines have a very limited shelf life.  Once opened a vial has to be used within 5 hours.  It is therefore vital that you attend your appointment and cancel in advance if you cannot attend.  Simply not turning up leads to vaccine wastage.  We have to prepare vaccines in advance of clinics and we base this on the numbers of patients booked in- a number of no shows therefore leads to vaccine wastage.  If you cannot make it- please cancel to help us prevent wastage - also, if we know in advance you cannot attend we can offer your appointment to someone else. 

If your clinic date is a Saturday you will not be able to phone to cancel on the day as the surgery is only open in order to run the clinics and the telephones are switched over to our out of hours service for the duration of the weekend. You therefore must tell us by 6pm on Friday if you cannot attend.



 
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