GP Surgeries Begin Vaccine Rollout In England: Here's What You Need To Know

It comes amid warnings that the distribution of the coronavirus jabs could be disrupted if there is a rise in cases following Christmas gatherings.

The long-awaited coronavirus vaccine will arrive in GP practices across England on Monday as the massive operation to deliver the jabs to those most at risk begins.

Centres will operate from doctors’ surgeries or community hubs in villages, towns and cities, with some offering vaccinations within hours.

But the rollout comes amid warnings increased socialising over the festive period could disrupt the distribution of the vaccine.

Here’s everything you need to know...

Who will get the jab this week?

If you are eligible for one of the first jabs you will be contacted by your GP.

Under the government’s rollout plan for the vaccine, those 80 years of age and over are first in line for the vaccine.

In a letter sent by NHS England last week, doctors were advised how to prioritise patients if there were more than 975 over people 80 years old eligible to be vaccinated, with advice stating they should take into account the ethnicity of patients .

“You could consider the following: i. Age 80 or over; ii. Co-morbidities; iii. Ethnicity,” it said.

Here is the vaccine priority list:

  1. Older adults resident in a care home and care home workers

  2. All those 80 years of age and over, plus frontline health and social care workers

  3. All those 75 years of age and over

  4. All those 70 years of age and over

  5. All those 65 years of age and over

  6. All Individuals aged 16 to 64 with underlying health conditions.

  7. All those 60 years of age and over

  8. All those 55 years of age and over

  9. All those 50 years of age and over

  10. The rest of the population (priority to be determined)

How long does it take to administer the jab?

Each patient needs to be observed for 15 minutes after being injected to monitor for allergic reactions (anaphylaxis), safety guidance states.

Dr June Raine, Chief Executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (), said: “Anaphylaxis is a known, although very rare, side effect with any vaccine. Most people will not get anaphylaxis and the benefits in protecting people against Covid-19 outweigh the risks.”

GPs are equipped to deal with allergic responses.

How many vaccines are available?

GP practices in more than 100 locations will receive the jab and each will receive 975 vaccines in their initial delivery.

To gain immunity, two jabs will be required. Scheduling for the two jabs should ideally be separated by an interval of at least seven days, spokespeople from Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) tell HuffPost UK.

This is because if you had both the vaccines in the space of a few days of each other – or at the same time – and then had an allergic reaction, it would be hard for doctors to tell which vaccine had caused the adverse effects.

“Because of the absence of data on co-administration with Covid-19 vaccines, it should not be routine to offer appointments to give this vaccine at the same time as other vaccines,” a PHE’s spokesperson said.

Dr Doreen Brown, 85, receives the first of two Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine jabs administered at Guy's Hospital in London last Tuesday.
Dr Doreen Brown, 85, receives the first of two Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine jabs administered at Guy's Hospital in London last Tuesday.

What about other vaccines?

The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is the only one currently approved for use in the UK but the chances of the University of Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine also being rolled out by the end of this year are “pretty high”, according to lead researcher Sarah Gilbert, who is professor of vaccinology at the university.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is still reviewing trial data for the Oxford/AstraZeneca jab.

Are there any potential problems?

Prof Gilbert said the vaccine rollout means it is possible that life could be “more or less” back to normal by next summer – but it depends on transmission rates in January which she said could be affected by people travelling and mixing with others over Christmas.

Restrictions are due to be relaxed across the UK between December 23 and 27 to allow families to spend time together in “Christmas bubbles” but NHS bosses have warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson that any relaxation of restrictions in England’s tier system could trigger a third wave of cases at the busiest time of the year for hospitals.

Prof Gilbert said the US has seen a surge in infections and deaths after people celebrated Thanksgiving, adding that a similar rise in the UK could also affect the vaccination roll-out.

“It’s not possible to run vaccination clinics when staff are off sick, and there’s a very high transmission rate affecting people’s ability to come to be vaccinated.”

The first review of England’s tier allocation is due take place on Wednesday and NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts in England, has urged “extreme caution” in moving any area of the country to a lower tier while areas should be moved into the highest tier of restrictions “as soon as this is needed, without any delay”.

A dovernment spokeswoman said ministers will not “hesitate to take necessary actions to protect local communities”.

Do I still need the flu jab?

Health chiefs have urged people with long-term medical conditions to get the flu vaccine before the virus properly starts to circulate. So far this year, just 46.8% of people with a long-term health condition and under the age of 65 have had the flu vaccine.

While vaccine coverage in this group is higher than it has been at this point compared to the last six flu seasons, it still lags behind coverage in other eligible groups. This year has seen the highest ever recorded flu vaccine uptake among older people, for example.

With those most vulnerable to flu also being at high risk of severe illness from Covid-19, health professionals have said it’s more important than ever that eligible people get the free flu vaccine as soon as possible.

What about other parts of the UK?

Care home residents in Scotland are due to receive the vaccine for the first time on Monday.


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