COVID-19 Vaccination Information

Update 15 Feb 2021

The UK has reached the significant milestone of offering the first COVID vaccination to all patients in the first four priority groups. This represents all people aged 70+ years and those who are considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) if they were to contract Covid-19.

Any of our patients  in these four groups who haven’t been vaccinated should contact the practice as soon as possible to organise an appointment.

NHSE have announced some significant changes to the vaccination rollout programme that will affect patients in cohorts 5-9.

From 15th February the GP-led centres ( i.e. Sandbrook Road) will focus on priority group 6 (which is people aged 16-64 years with underlying health conditions). The pharmacy-led vaccination centres e.g. Hirshmans will focus on the age specific groups (5,7,8 and 9).

The definition of each of the priority groups has recently been updated on the gov.uk website and now includes more detail on what constitutes an underlying health condition.

There are some important things to remember about this change in the delivery programme.

  1. Until now the GP centres  and the pharmacy-led centres have been inviting the same groups of people who could choose to use the 119 national booking service to find a local centre with availability or wait for their GP surgery to invite them.

For this next phase we will each be inviting different groups of patients.

If you have an underlying health condition that is included in the government definition then it will be your GP that will invite you. If you are in a priority group based on your age then you will access the vaccination clinics via the 119 or on-line booking service.

  1. The definition of an underlying health condition is NOT the same as the ‘at-risk’ group for the flu vaccination programme so don’t assume you will be in priority group 6 just because you received a free flu-jab last autumn.

Some areas of the definition require additional clarification. Please refer to the notes at the bottom of this page for more details on asthma, adult carers and other groups.

Remember, people in group 6 will only be called by their GP surgery  - unless they also fall into an age category being invited by letter from NHS England. It seems that priority group 5 – people aged between 65 and 69 are currently receiving those letters and we have no sight at all of when that will move onto group 7 and people aged under 65.

The surgery will invite people in group 6 either by SMS if we have a mobile phone number on record for you or by a phone call. If we cant contact you by either method we will then deliver a letter to their home address. As with earlier groups we will operate robust safety netting procedures to ensure that people aren’t forgotten about.

Priority Group 6 is by far the largest and most complex of the remaining patient groups.

The Grange Surgery has approx. 900 patients in this group ( of approx. 6000 across the Ainsdale, Birkdale and Formby GP Network). Our allocation from each 3-day cycle of Pfizer vaccines is approx. 185 vaccines so its clear that this group will take a while to get through.

The throughput at a Pfizer clinic is much slower than a clinic delivering the Astra Zeneca vaccine because of the need to observe all patients for 15 minutes after their vaccination. The GP-led centres have no influence over which type of vaccine is delivered from the central supply.

The request for patients not to call the surgery to ask about when they will receive their vaccine is more important than ever as we enter this next important phase of the roll-out. Some of the rules for eligibility are complex and there is a real danger of our resources being overwhelmed by too many phone calls seeking clarification.

We know that waiting for the vaccine can be a very anxious time but we ask our patients to support us as we do this work at the same time as running our normal services.

We would encourage everyone who can to make full use of the  government website and the on-line resources provided by organisations who support people with different conditions.

Asthma

The definition of underlying health condition includes “those with asthma that requires continuous or repeated use of systemic steroids or with previous exacerbations requiring hospital admission”.

This guidance has since been clarified and the following was published on the Asthma UK Twitter account on Feb 13th

“If you have ever had an emergency hospital admission for your asthma, or ever been prescribed three courses of steroid tablets in a three-month period”

 Adult Carers

Those who are eligible for a carer’s allowance, or those who are the sole or primary carer of an elderly or disabled person who is at increased risk of COVID-19 mortality and therefore clinically vulnerable.

More information is expected from NHS England on February 15th around how people in this group will be identified. It is anticipated that the local authority will play a key role in this.

We will update our website as soon as information is released.

FAQs

My neighbour has had their vaccine, why haven’t I been invited for mine?

The NHS is inviting eligible people in a phased way as supplies of the vaccine allow. It is important to wait to be contacted by the NHS.

Our staff are working around the clock to vaccinate as many people as they can when the vaccines come in and we can assure you that you will be contacted as soon as we are ready to give you your vaccination. 

Following the NHS vaccination delivery plan we are working on the prioritisation list starting with those most at risk, once we have completed that priority list we will then move onto the next on the list above. 

I am a vulnerable patient and people I know who are less vulnerable have had their vaccine, why is this, am I being missed off the list?

No, please be assured you will not be missed off the list. Not all parts of Sefton were able to start vaccinating at the same time, so don’t worry if you have not been contacted yet, we will get to you. 

Our GP practices are working through the list of priority patients and as soon as we complete those most at risk we will move onto the next priority group on the list. We will contact you when it is the right time for you to have your vaccine. 

I’m a bit worried about scams I’m hearing about, can you tell me how to avoid these? 

There are some SMS / text message SCAMS taking place related to COVID-19 and more information and example of how these may look can be found here. Please be careful if you do receive a text message, don’t click on a link until you are sure that this is not a scam. Be careful with anything that relates to:

  • A URL link claiming to link to GOV.UK to claim supposed COVID-19 related payments
  • Lockdown fines suggesting you have breached lockdown 
  • Offers of health supplements that will prevent you becoming infected 
  • Financial support offers that appear to be from your bank 

If you are worried that any text message is a scam please don’t respond, report the SMS Scam to Action Fraud by forwarding the message to 7726.

How you can help

We ask for your support and patience as we continue to roll out the programme. Please be assured, you will be contacted when it is your turn to be vaccinated. 

In the meantime, we ask that you: 

  • Do not contact your GP or the NHS, we will contact you
  • When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointments 

Remember, it is really important we all continue to follow the guidance to stop the spread of the virus by following:  

  • Hands - wash your hands frequently
  • Face - use a face covering or mask 
  • Space - keep your distance from people

Even if you have received a first dose of vaccine, you should still continue to follow these rules to keep you and those around you safe and free from COVID-19.