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.
COVID-19 vaccine information
The first COVID-19 vaccine, licenced in mid-December 2020, was developed by Pfizer and BioNTech and was used to start the world's first COVID-19 vaccination programme before Christmas. The most vulnerable patients have been targeted first. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has the limitation that it has to be stored at extremely low temperatures, less than minus 70 degrees Celsius, which requires specialist cold storage facilities. Once defrosted the vaccine has to be used within five days. This makes it impractical for use in GP surgeries, but NHS England has overcome this by arranging for the defrosted vaccine to be delivered to designated vaccination centres, large enough to enable all the vaccine to be within the tight time frame to avoid any wastage. Each vaccination centre covers a number of practices - Holmes Chapel Health Centre and the three Congleton practices in our Primary Care Network use Congleton Town Hall as our vaccination centre.
A second vaccine, developed by Oxford-AstraZeneca, was made available from 4/1/21. This vaccine does not require storage at such extreme low temperatures, and supplies of this vaccine has been made available to practices and community nursing staff to administer to care home residents and housebound patients.
The Moderna vaccine is now being used, and other vaccines will be available for use very soon, including those manufactured by Novavax and Janssen. The government has placed huge orders for all vaccines, so that there should be plenty available for everyone in the country to receive a vaccine over the coming months.
In order to beat COVID-19 and return to normal it is important we all have the vaccine as soon as it is made available to us. Vaccinations are being delivered according to priority groups identified by the Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). Please try to book the first available appointment as soon as you become eligible for vaccination. Do not be tempted to wait in the hope that appointments may be made available at the practice as this is not planned, and delaying will place you at risk for longer than is necessary. The purpose of the vaccine is not only to protect individuals, but also to reduce the impact of COVID-19 infection on our hospitals. Delaying your vaccination increases the risk to you, but also increases the risk of the NHS being overloaded - and that affects everyone.