Covid Vaccination program
This information is based on the current plans for the Covid Vaccination Program. However, there are frequent changes and is not the final version.
It is important to understand the different vaccines:
The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine was the first to be approved by the MHRA. The government has purchased 40 Mio doses and supplies are slowly arriving in the UK.
It has been thoroughly tested and no serious side effects occurred. Patients can have some side effects in the first 24-48 hours after the injection, like local reactions, flu like symptoms or a mild fever.
Patients will need 2 vaccinations, 3 weeks apart. Immunity is achieved 7 days after the second injection. It is very important to understand that everyone will need the 2 vaccinations, a single vaccination is not effective.
There is currently no data available about how long immunity will last, it is assumed to be a minimum of 1 year, but it might be shorter or considerably longer.
The biggest problem is the difficult logistics to handle this vaccine. It needs to be kept at below -70 degrees. This means that the vaccine can only be stored at special sites like hospital pharmacies.
As a result of this, it was decided to administer this vaccine only from the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, where staff, inpatients and patients who attend outpatient clinics and fall into the eligible categories will be able to be vaccinated. There will also be a program to vaccinate higher risk NHS and care home staff at the hospital.
It is not possible to administer this vaccine in care homes due to its restrictions.
The other vaccine expected to be approved shortly is the Oxford / Astra Zeneca vaccine. It will also need to be given as 2 doses, but it is much easier to handle and only requires normal fridge temperatures to be stored. Because it has not been approved yet, we have less information at the moment regarding side effects etc. The Government has purchased 100 Mio doses of this vaccine, but supplies will only arrive in very small numbers this year, the main vaccination program will start early 2021.
There are 10 categories of patients, and the initial vaccinations will be given to the 2 highest categories, patients over 80 years old, patients in care homes, some house bound patients and NHS and care staff. Once vaccinations will become more wildly available, we will work down the categories.
The booking for vaccinations will be through a central NHS booking system, eligible people will receive a letter asking them to book an appointment online. There is little detail at the moment how this will work and if GP surgeries will be able to book appointments.
There are plans to have bigger vaccination centres at places like the Telford International Centre to be able to administer larger number of vaccinations. There were also plans to have more local Vaccination Pods in smaller communities, again this is not finalised.
Due to the logistical difficulties with administering the current vaccine programme we are supporting the STP in their delivery plans. We plan to be able to deliver more locally in the near future, likely toward the end of January.
Eligible patients will be informed when the local program is going to start.
Again, all of this is the current understanding and does change frequently.