COVID-19 : Vaccination guidance

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 texting, writing and 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 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.

19/04/2021: Proof of vaccination

We are starting to get queries regarding gaining proof of vaccination.  We have always advised that we will not be issuing letters to patients as we simply don't have the capacity to do so as we are vaccinating thousands of patients.  We broached NHS Highland to ask if there were national plans to provide a vaccination record and this has been issued as the current stance from the Scottish Government as at 15/04/2021:

"International certification standards have not yet been agreed. The Scottish Government is working to support the re-opening of international travel once it is safe to do so. We are working with the other UK Nations and with the World Health Organisation to agree on potential future COVID certification requirements for international travel.  As part of this, we are developing a technical solution that could allow people to access their Covid vaccination status directly."  

It has been further stated that requesting a SAR or a summary from your medical records will not provide the information in a format that will be accepted so for now the best advice is to wait until the Government announces their plans in this regard.

We will advise if there are any further developments. 

 

Latest News- Last updated 04/05/2021:

All patients aged 70+ and those categorised as shielding have now have had their complete course of COVID vaccine.  All those aged 50+ have been offered their first dose.  If you have not yet received your complete course and fall into these categories please contact us to discuss when we can schedule your appointment.

If you are an adult household contact of severely immunosuppressed patients in Group 5 you are now eligible to be prioritised for a vaccine.  Please contact the surgery to ask for appointment availability (only if you are registered with our practice- People in this situation are to be vaccinated by their own GP). Household contacts are defined as individuals who are sharing living accommodation and for whom close contact is unavoidable.  This does not apply to immunosuppressed children, or contacts of immunosupressed adults who are children as the vaccines are not currently licensed for people under the age of 18.

Please see the JCVI schedule below for more information on the target dates of vaccination for each age group.

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. 
    • 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

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- both doses given 
3. all those 70 -74 years of age and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals - both doses given
4. all those 65 years of age and over-first dose completed - You will be contacted by the surgery to receive your 2nd dose prior to the 12 week deadline.
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.  You will be contacted by the surgery to receive your 2nd dose prior to the 12 week deadline

6. all of those aged 60-64 of age-  first dose given.  You will be contacted by the surgery to receive your 2nd dose prior to the 12 week deadline.
7. all those 55-59 years of age- target date is 15th April 2021- first dose given- You will be contacted by the surgery to receive your 2nd dose prior to the 12 week deadline.
8. all those 50-54 years of age - target date is 15th April 2021- first dose given - You will be contacted by the surgery to receive your 2nd dose prior to the 12 week deadline.

9: all those aged 16-49 - target date is 31st July 2021.  We are currently organising this clinic.  Patients are being contacted by text message. 

Moving forward those patients under 50 are being vaccinated in groups according to age and will be text messaged to alert them of their ability to book an appointment:

40-44 year old patients dates are still tbc- we are hoping to complete this cohort by the end of May, dependant on confirmation of vaccine supply.

35-39 year old patients dates are still tbc.

30-34 year old patients dates are still tbc.  

25-29 year old patients dates are still tbc.  All patients in this cohort will receive the Pfizer vaccine as per Government advice.

18-24 year old patients dates are still tbc.  All patients in this cohort will receive the Pfizer vaccine as per Government advice.

**  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.

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 and Pfizer vaccines have to be used within 5 days of receipt of delivery.  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.

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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