A young girl has a plaster applied following an injection

Covid vaccinations can now be booked for all 5–11-year-olds

All five to eleven-year-olds are now eligible to receive a vaccination against covid-19.

Appointments can be booked online or by calling 119.

In February, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that the vaccine be offered to all children aged 5-11, expanding the eligibility from just those in clinically at-risk groups.

The NHS offers children two doses of the Pfizer vaccine twelve weeks apart. Each jab will be a third of the dose given to adults.

Protecting Children against covid

For most children who get covid, it is a mild illness that may need a few days off school. It may be more severe for a small number of children or last longer.

The vaccine will reduce your child’s chances of getting covid, or how serious it is if they do catch it.

Possible Side Effects

As with all vaccines, there is the possibility of side effects. Not everyone will get them, and most will be mild and not last long.

Common side effects include pain or tenderness where the injection was given, tiredness, headache, or other flu-like symptoms. You can treat these with rest and paracetamol (with a dose appropriate for their age).

If these side effects worsen or last longer than a week, you should call NHS 111.

Less common side effects can involve chest pain, shortness of breath or feelings of a fast-beating heart. 

Very rare cases of heart inflammation have been recorded – around 1 or 2 cases per million vaccinations given.

As with all vaccines, the benefit of protection against illness outweighs the possible side effects.

Consent 

Parents, carers or guardians should attend the vaccination appointment with the child. Consent is obtained on the day when you will go through the process with a healthcare professional.

You may want to discuss getting vaccinated with your child, so they understand the benefits and the possibility of side effects. You can find resources and guides for parents of children aged 5-11 online.

Covid Digest for March 2022

The latest updates and news you need to know about Covid-19.

Spring Boosters

A Spring Boosters campaign has been launched, inviting certain groups of people to book an additional covid vaccination.

The NHS is currently offering the extra protection of another jab to everyone aged 75 or older, all residents of care homes, and anyone aged 12 and above who is immunosuppressed.

All covid vaccination can be booked online or by calling 119.

Getting vaccinated and following safer behaviours – regular hand washing, face coverings, staying at home when unwell – helps protect ourselves and others.

Getting Vaccinated when Pregnant

New research from the University of Oxford highlights the importance of pregnant women getting vaccinated.

Since May 2021, 98% of all pregnant women admitted to hospital with covid have been unvaccinated.

The research shows that unvaccinated pregnant women are two to three times more likely to give birth early, need a caesarean or induction, have a baby stillborn or need neonatal care. 

The results also show that being vaccinated protects pregnant women from severe illness or hospitalisation.

While 92% of the population have had at least one vaccine dose, the rate amongst pregnant women is significantly lower – just 6.8% of pregnant black women are fully vaccinated, and 10.2% of pregnant women in deprived areas.

It is vital for the health of pregnant women and their babies that they do not wait until after giving birth to get vaccinated.

Validation of Overseas Vaccinations

People who have received covid-19 vaccinations in other countries can now have that information validated and added to their NHS record.

To have your vaccination record validated, you must:

  • Have received one of the approved vaccines:
    • AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria)
    • Pfizer/BioNTech (Comirnaty)
    • Johnson & Johnson (Janssen)
    • Moderna (Spikevax)
    • Novavax (Nuvaxovid)
  • Be aged 16 and above
  • Be registered with a GP
  • Be able to attend a face-to-face appointment with photographic proof of your identity and evidence of your overseas vaccination record.

You can make appointments to validate an overseas vaccination through the National Booking System.

‘Living with Covid’: What you need to know

Today, Thursday 24th February, the government has lifted all remaining legal restrictions to deal with the covid-19 pandemic.

This means that there is no longer a legal requirement to isolate after a positive test. Routine contact tracing has also ended, so close contacts of positive cases no longer need to isolate or test daily.

The key point to note is that while this is no longer a legal requirement, it is recommended that people isolate themselves for five full days after testing positive.

Similarly, wearing masks or face coverings in indoor spaces and public transport has already changed to advisory from compulsory.

Why the NHS has different requirements

Since the pandemic began, the NHS has had specific infection prevention and control (IPC) guidelines.

These were put in place and continue to be in place to reduce the chances of covid entering and spreading in healthcare settings.

Mandatory masks, social distancing, regular disinfection protect vulnerable patients, staff, and every other visitor to an NHS building.

We want to remind all patients that when you visit the practice, you will be asked to wear a mask or face covering when inside the building and observe social distancing. You may also be asked to wait in certain areas.

In order to be able to provide in-person appointments, as we have done since the pandemic began, we need to take steps to minimise the risk of spreading infection as much as possible.

If you are visiting the practice and have covid symptoms – please consider whether your appointment could be delayed until you are feeling better, or to take a lateral flow test before coming.

Please also be aware that the rules for NHS staff around self-isolation are also different from the general public. 

When a team member tests positive, they still must isolate until they record negative tests on consecutive days. Consequently, there may be an impact on staffing levels. 

Other changes

As self-isolation is no longer enforceable by law, the associated support payments of £500 available to those on low incomes have also now stopped.

Mass testing will remain free and available to everyone until the end of March 2022. 

From 1st April, testing will focus on the most clinically vulnerable and will not be available free of charge to the general public.

Visit the NHS website for full information.

COVID Digest: This weeks news, updates and need-to-know information

A round-up of the changes and need-to-know information about the covid-19 pandemic.

Vaccinations for ‘at risk’ 5-11-year olds

Children aged five to eleven years of age who are most ‘at risk’ will be offered covid-19 vaccinations. This will include some 500,000 children nationally who are in a clinical risk group or live with someone who is immunosuppressed.

Continue reading “COVID Digest: This weeks news, updates and need-to-know information”

Covid Prevention Measures in GP Practices

Tomorrow, 27th January sees the lifting of all remaining ‘Plan B’ measures around covid. You can read what that covers in our Covid digest post from earlier this week.

However, it is important to note that in GP practices and all NHS settings, there are different infection control procedures in place which allow us to continue to see patients face-to-face.

Continue reading “Covid Prevention Measures in GP Practices”