Pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccinations
The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has advised that pregnant women should be offered the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines where available, as they become eligible based on their age. Although it is suggested they discuss the risks and benefits of the vaccines with their doctor before making an appointment, this is not a requirement.
This change to advice is based on safety data from the USA where the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have been used more extensively than in the UK. There is no evidence to suggest that other vaccines, including the AstraZeneca vaccine, are unsafe in pregnancy but because pregnant women have not been included in trials the data to support their use is not available at this stage. It is expected more evidence will be available in the future.
COVID-19 Vaccination and Blood Clotting
The recent news about possible safety issues associated with the AstraZenaca COVID-19 vaccine has caused considerable concern for many of our patients and the practice has received a large number of queries from patients seeking advice. The practice recommends that all patients follow the recommedations issued by the Medicines and Health Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and the Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI). Comprehensive information about the relative risks of COVID-19 infection and vaccination Information can be found by following the link COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting.
A statement issued by the JCVI can be accessed by following the link JCVI statement on the AZ COVID-19 vaccine
If you have already received the first vaccine dose 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. You should complete the course with the same vaccine you had for the first dose. 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. Whilst it is expected that the first dose of the vaccine will have given you some protection, particularly against severe disease, having the second dose will give you higher and longer lasting protection.
Patients should be reassured that when the time comes for under 30’s to have their first vaccination an alternative to the AZ vaccine will be offered. For those aged under 30 who have already received their first AZ vaccine the current advice is that they should still have the AZ vaccination for their second dose as planned - the new advice only applies to first doses. We are still some time away from vaccinating people aged under 30 and more information may be available by the time vaccine is offered to this age group.
Unless you have an imminent appointment for your first vaccine we request that you access current information online rather than contacting the practice for advice.
'HANDS - FACE - SPACE - AND FRESH AIR'
Staff at the health centre are actively involved in the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine. The government has targeted the vaccination of everyone in the 9 most vulnerable groups by the end of April, and all adults by later in the year. This is a massive undertaking, and in common with all practices we are trying to juggle the need to focus on vaccinations, whilst ensuring we also provide essential care for our patients.
It is important that patients continue to contact us if they are concerned symptoms may be due an underlying serious health problem, including cancer. We are attempting to keep footfall within the Health Centre to a minimum for the safety of staff and patients, and all requests are therefore initially triaged by phone by a GP or nurse. This is not a filtering process, but represents an advanced way of working to enable us deal with health concerns more efficiently, often without face to face consultation, but where necessary patients will be asked to attend the Health Centre for assessment. We have cut back on a lot of our routine work so that we can prioritise preventative work, including childhood vaccinations, cervical screening, and management of patients with new or worrying symptoms. However, we realise that we have to perform some routine work, including monitoring blood tests and medication reviews, and therefore we request that if you have been asked to arrange a test, or submit home blood pressure readings, or phone to discuss medication, that you try to do this before your next prescription is due. All practices have been advised to prepare for a 'tsunami' of demand following the relaxation of lockdown rules later this year, in addition to the accumulated workload as a result of having to reduce chronic disease management to the bare essentials during the past 12 months.
Moving forward we ask for your continued support:
- please only contact us when absolutely necessary, for urgent clinical problems or symptoms that are concerning you
- respond to requests for monitoring blood test by booking an appointment before your next repeat prescription is due
- if asked, monitor your blood pressure at home and submit readings when requested
COVID-19 vaccination clinics - updated 11/5/21
Everyone aged 40 and over by 1st July 2021 plus anyone aged 16 and above who is clinically vulnerable are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination.
2nd vaccine doses
If you have already received the first dose of the vaccine without suffering any serious side effects you should complete the course. This includes people aged under 30 years old.
If you received your first Pfizer COVID vaccine at Congleton Town hall on 8th or 9th January or 14th or 15th January you may now have your second vaccine. Please contact the Health Centre to arrange your appointment. Patients who had their first vaccine at one of the mass vaccination centres should have already have an appointment for their second dose.
Patients who were shielding and had their first vaccination at the Health Centre on 23rd January are now due their second vaccination. Unfortunately due to vaccine supply problems we are not yet able to offer the second vaccination at the Health Centre. Whilst we appreciate that patients attended the Health Centre because of difficulty accessing clinics further afield, it is important that they can become fully protected as quickly as possible. We therefore strongly advice that rather than wait for vaccine to become available at the Health Centre patients take the opportunity to book an alternative appointment, at one of the clinics at Congleton Town Hall or mass vaccination centres. For those who are unable to travel and are prepared to wait for an appointment at the Health Centre we will endeavour to notify you as soon as appointments become available.
Check the latest information at NHS COVID-19 vaccination
The vaccine is now being given to:
- people aged 40 and over by 1st July 2021
- people at high risk from coronavirus(clinically extremely vulnerable)
- people who live or work in care homes
- health and social care workers
- people with a condition that puts them at higher risk (clinically vulnerable)
- people with a learning disability
- people who are a main carer for someone at high risk from coronavirus
If you are eligible you do not need to be contacted to arrange an appointment for your vaccination. The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).
All vaccination appointments were initially co-ordinated by a booking centre, specially commissioned by our Primary Care Network. The booking system has now changed and the booking centre has closed - please do not try to contact the booking centre to enquire about your second vaccination appointment, you will be contacted when this is due.
Groups 1-4 - book with GP or use NHS booking centre
Everyone aged 70 and above, and those are shielding due to extreme clinical vulnerability have been offered their first COVID-19 vaccination. If you have not yet responded please book an appointment now - contact the NHS booking line 119, book online here or telephone the Health Centre.
Groups 5 to 9 - book using NHS booking centre
Everyone aged 40 and over is now eligible to book their vaccination, but to enable practices to focus on the vaccination of patients aged 16 and above who are clinically vulnerable (and to make best use of local vaccination service capacity) patients over 40 who are not clinically vulnerable are requested to use the National Booking Service to book their COVID-19 vaccination.
In order to avoid a delay please book your vaccination now via www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination or by calling 119. Appointments are available throughout the week across the region. The closest large vaccination centre is at Alderly Park, former home of AstraZenaca - what a fitting place to receive your AZ COVID-19 vaccination!
The objective of the COVID-19 immunisation programme is to protect those who are at highest risk from serious illness or death. The Joint Committee on Vaccinations and Immunisations (JCVI) have set out a prioritisation for persons at risk, ranking eligible groups according to risk, largely based on prevention of death from COVID-19-specific. At this stage we have to adhere to guidance provided by the JCVI - the practice is not able to add people to group 6 unless they fulfil the JCVI criteria. For full details follow the link to the JCVI Green Book.
We will try to contact you via text, phone or letter if it becomes apparent you are in an eligible group but not yet had your vaccination. Texting is the preferred method of choice - please contact the Health Centre if we do not have your mobile number or if you have previously opted out of receiving text messages. If we do not have a mobile number for you we will contact you by phone or letter, but this process is inevitably slower and time consuming for staff. Please ensure we have your up to date contact details so that we can notify you - if not, please email the practice with your details using this feedback form.
Details of how to book a vaccination appointment are contained in the text message, or will be explained in phone calls or letters to patients. We remain totally dependant on the availability of vaccine supplies, but working collaboratively with the Congleton practices has enabled us to provide a very efficient and rapid vaccination service, with the only rate limiting step being the amount of vaccine in our fridges.
Vaccine availability is not a problem for the larger vaccine centres and pharmacies set up by the government, and because their supplies are guaranteed they can book appointments for both the first and second vaccine doses. This makes the larger vaccination centres a very attractive route for many patients, despite the greater travel distances. The larger vaccination centres are currently vaccinating patients aged 40 and above. To arrange an appointment at one of the larger vaccination centres you can book online here or call 119. You will be asked your 10 digit NHS number - this will be on your invitation letter if you have received one, but you can still book an appointment if you do not know your NHS number.
Link to news
Link to latest COVID-19 update
COVID-19 vaccinations -key information
- The COVID-19 vaccination programme is being organised centrally by NHS England and co-ordinated locally by our Primary Care Network
- The vaccination is being offered to the most vulnerable patients first - currently groups 1 to 9. You will be notified by NHS England by letter when you are eligible to receive your first vaccination
Everyone aged 40 and above, and those are shielding due to extreme clinical vulnerability are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination. If you have not yet responded please book an appointment now - contact the NHS booking line 119, book online here or telephone the Health Centre.
- The second dose of vaccine will be given after an interval of 10-12 weeks. To help protect all patients, and ease the demands on hospitals we need to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible, and delaying the second dose increases the number of people who can benefit from the vaccine.
- We are still some time away from vaccinating people aged under 30 but patients should be reassured that when the time comes for this age group to have their first vaccination an alternative to the AZ vaccine will be offered.
- For those aged under 30 who have already received their first AZ vaccine the current advice is that they should still have the AZ vaccination for their second dose as planned - the new advice only applies to first doses. More information the new safety concerns can be found at COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting.
How GPs Have Contributed To The COVID-19 Vaccination Programme
If you were wondering about how GPs have been contributing to the COVID-19 vaccination programme read the experiences of Dr John Griffiths, a GP in Winsford. His recent blog provides a good overview of the role GPs have made in helping to deliver the vaccine. Follow the link to read more How GPs have contributed to the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
New Telephone System
We had a new telephone system installed on Thursday 11th March. This is because our new surgery extension has meant we have outgrown our existing phone system, and we hope our new telephone system will be more versatile and efficient.
Please be aware there is a new options Menu on the phone so it is important to listen carefully to the new options to ensure you are connected to the correct department.
In line with latest guidance the practice will only use email to send correspondence following the change in phone systems. This means that from 11th March we will no longer have a fax machine, and our fax number will not function.
COVID-19 Information for patients
You need to self isolate if you have any of the following symptoms;
New continuous cough
A temperature of 37.8 or above
A loss/change of sense of smell or taste
Please do not attend the practice if you suspect you may have COVID-19 infection, either because you have symptoms (cough, fever, loss of taste or smell), have tested positive for COVID-19, or if you have been in contact with someone who has suspected COVID-19 infection or tested positive for COVID-19. If you need medical assistance whilst you suspect you may have COVID-19 infection please ensure you inform the receptionist, doctor or nurse by telephone that you are potentially infectious.
Patients suffering from possible COVID-19 infection cannot be seen at the Health Centre due to the risk to staff and other patients. Instead they will be provided with an appointment at the nearest 'Hot Hub' where fully protected medical staff will be better placed to assess patients.
For the latest information about COVID-19 visit gov.uk/coronavirus
Holmes Chapel Health Centre general information
‘Our aim is to provide the best possible health care for you and your family.’ Our practice is classified as semi-rural, based in a purpose built health centre in the heart of the community in Holmes Chapel.
We have a growing practice population, currently around 12,300 patients, served by an extended Primary Health Care Team including doctors, practice and community nurses, reception staff, physiotherapists and health visitors. We are part of the Eastern Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group .
Our aims here at Holmes Chapel Health Centre remain:
Safe, Effective Care for our Patients.
Remaining resilient in terms of our staffing to be able to remain open and provide our services.
We are in a unique period of time: facing an uncertain challenge and we will do all we can to support our patients.
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(Site updated 11/05/2021)