*** CORONAVIRUS UPDATE 2nd August 2021 ***
Myths and Facts about COVID-19 Vaccines
How do I know which COVID-19 vaccine information sources are accurate?
Accurate vaccine information is critical and can help stop common myths and rumours.
It can be difficult to know which sources of information you can trust. Before considering vaccine information on the Internet, check that the information comes from a credible source and is updated on a regular basis. Please see links below for further information.
COVID VACCINATION PASSPORT
We are unable to offer you a certificate of covid vaccination, a vaccination passport or a letter to prove you have been vaccinated against Covid-19.
The proof of vaccination documents have not yet been developed and as such cannot be provided by your GP. As soon as we have further information we will share it with you.
You can download the NHS App which can give you access to this and other information from your medical records.
Thank you for your patience!
MOST RECENT GUIDANCE HERE
Step 1 – 8 and 29 March
Changes on 8 March
In Step 1, our priority is to ensure that all children and students return safely to face-to-face education in schools and colleges from 8 March. Childcare and children’s supervised activities can also resume where necessary to enable parents to work or engage in similar activities. We are introducing twice-weekly rapid testing for secondary and college pupils – in addition to regular testing for all teachers – to reduce the chance of the virus spreading in schools.
Higher Education students at English universities on practical courses can also return from 8 March.
People will be allowed to leave home for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household or support bubble, if they are eligible for one, or with one person from outside their household. Care home residents will also be allowed one regular visitor.
Changes on 29 March
The evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. And this is why from 29 March, when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the Rule of 6) or 2 households will also be allowed, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside.
Business and activities
Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
The ‘stay at home’ rule will end on 29 March but many restrictions will remain in place. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on 12 April.
Step 2 – not before 12 April
Business and activities
Step 2, which will be no earlier than 12 April, will see the opening of non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers and nail salons; and public buildings, including libraries and community centres. Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms will also reopen (but only for use by people on their own or in household groups); as will most outdoor attractions and settings including outdoor hospitality venues, zoos, theme parks, and drive-in cinemas. Self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets, where indoor facilities are not shared with other households, can also reopen.
Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors at Step 2 and there will be no need for customers to order a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks and no curfew, although customers must order, eat and drink while seated (‘table service’). Wider social contact rules will apply in all these settings to prevent indoor mixing between different households.
While funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners, the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise to 15.
Step 3 – not before 17 May
As part of Step 3, no earlier than 17 May, the government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances.
This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted – although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal. Indoors, the Rule of 6 or 2 households will apply – we will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.
As soon as possible and by no later than Step 3, we will also update the advice on social distancing between friends and family, including hugging. But until this point, people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble.
Business and activities
Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to reopen. In all sectors, COVID-Secure guidance will remain in place and businesses may not cater for groups bigger than the legal limits. Indoor hospitality will reopen – and as in Step 2, venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew. Customers will, however, have to order, eat and drink while seated.
Other indoor locations to open up in Step 3 include indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas and children’s play areas; the rest of the accommodation sector, including hotels, hostels and B&Bs; and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. The government will also allow some larger performances and sporting events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number), and in outdoor venues with a capacity of 4,000 people or half-full (whichever is a lower number). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, up to 10,000 people will be able to attend (or a quarter-full, whichever is lower).
Up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and wakes, as well as funerals. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.
Review of social distancing
Finally, before Step 4 begins, the government will complete a review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut transmission. This will inform decisions on the timing and circumstances under which the rules on 1 metre plus, the wearing of face coverings and other measures may be lifted. This will also inform guidance on working from home – which should continue wherever possible until this review is complete.
Step 4 – not before 21 June
By Step 4 which will take place no earlier than 21 June, the government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.
Business, activities and events
We hope to reopen remaining premises, including nightclubs, and ease the restrictions on large events and performances that apply in Step 3. This will be subject to the results of a scientific Events Research Programme to test the outcome of certain pilot events through the spring and summer, where we will trial the use of testing and other techniques to cut the risk of infection. The same Events Research Programme will guide decisions on whether all limits can be removed on weddings and other life events.
As we move through each of these phases in the roadmap, we must all remember that COVID-19 remains a part of our lives. We are going to have to keep living our lives differently to keep ourselves and others safe. We must carry on with ‘hands, face, space’. Comply with the COVID-Secure measures that remain in place. Meet outdoors when we can and keep letting fresh air in. Get tested when needed. Get vaccinated when offered. If we all continue to play our part, we will be that bit closer to a future that is more familiar.
FOUR CONDITIONS FOR LOCKDOWN EASING:
VACCINE PROGRAMME CONTINUES TO GO TO PLAN
EVIDENCE SHOWS VACCINES ARE REDUCING DEATHS AND NUMBER REQUIRING HOSPITAL TREATMENT
INFECTION RATES DO NOT RISK SURGE IN HOSPITAL ADMISSIONS
NEW VARIANTS DO NOT CHANGE RISK OF LIFTING RESTRICTIONS
NEW LOCKDOWN RULES APPLY FROM TODAY (5.1.2021)
You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
You should follow this guidance immediately. The law will be updated to reflect these new rules.
You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- attend education or childcare – for those eligible
Full guidance below:
We as a practice may have to adapt our clinics to ensure the safe and swift delivery of this national vaccine programme. We will keep you updated when we know more. In the meantime if you have an appointment at the practice booked PLEASE still attend.
CORONAVIRUS VACCINE IS HERE!!!
❗ IMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT COVID-19 VACCINATIONS from NHS ENGLAND❗
CORONAVIRUS VACCINE IS HERE!!!
IMPORTANT NEWS ABOUT COVID-19 VACCINATIONS from NHS ENGLAND
We are vaccinating at pace in Sunderland and are already ahead of the game when it comes to moving through the risk groups.
Unfortunately our clinics are now reliant on deliveries so we are only able to offer appointments when we have deliveries confirmed. We can get notification of delivery with 48 hours to spare so it is a herculean effot to arrange staff and clinics and then contact patients before the vaccines expire.
We are currently vaccinating ALL those who are registered housebound, on the clinical extremely vulnerable list, and those over 70 (as well as patients who live in care homes, staff and supporting staff – dentists, pharmacists, social care sector staff etc)
If you are NOT in the above groupings PLEASE DO NOT CALL US – we will call you when we get the nod to invite you in.
For those of you lucky enough to have had your first vaccine, you will have heard the new advice from the UK Chief Medical Officers, vaccine providers are being asked to prioritise first dose vaccination jabs over second doses.
The new guidance will help ensure that as many people as possible benefit from the first dose of the vaccine as soon as possible.
The new medical advice is that the second dose of the vaccine remains effective when given up to 12 weeks after the first dose, and should be given towards the end of this 12 week period.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO CALL US. We will call you to schedule your second vaccine appointment.
Thank you and Stay Safe.
#stayhome #protecttheNHS #savelives
Clinics being held at Grindon firstly then opening up throughout Sunderland from next week – Millfield is our locality hub where our patients will be expected to have their vaccines.
The who when and how …. please click here for more info.
The vaccine delivery is based on priority groups – please see image below.
Please don’t call us – you will receive an invite directly from the hub very soon.
Further information on Covid Vaccine delivery here
We’re in this together, and we will get through this together.
COVID-19 vaccine centres across Sunderland are now up and running and Healthwatch Sunderland would like to hear from anyone who has had their appointment for their vaccine, to let them know how it went. They would like to know about the whole experience, from booking your appointment to receiving your vaccine and whether your experience was good or bad, this feedback will help Healthwatch inform providers what is working well and what, and if anything, could be improved.
You can give your feedback here: http://bit.ly/34i4cn6
Also, if you have any questions about the vaccine, you can contact them on: (0191) 514 7145, email@example.com or visit their new COVID Vaccine frequently asked questions page here: http://bit.ly/2KoFcDx
The National resctrictions will be relaxed on 2nd December but we will then enter into the tiered system.
As of 30th November 2020 we will be entering into Tier 3 – the highest category of restrictions.
Tier 3: Very High alert
This is for areas with a very high or very rapidly rising level of infections, where tighter restrictions are in place.
In tier 3:
- you must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues
- you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in some other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
- hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.
- accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training
- indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close. This includes:
- indoor play centres and areas, including trampolining parks and soft play
- bingo halls
- bowling alleys
- skating rinks
- amusement arcades and adult gaming centres
- laser quests and escape rooms
- cinemas, theatres and concert halls
- snooker halls
- indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close (indoor shops, through-ways and public toilets at such attractions can remain open). This includes indoor attractions within:
- zoos, safari parks, and wildlife reserves
- aquariums, visitor attractions at farms, and other animal attractions
- model villages
- museums, galleries and sculpture parks
- botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses
- theme parks, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs
- visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles and stately homes
- landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms
- leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms should close
- there should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. Elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators
- large outdoor events (performances and shows) should not take place, with the exception of drive-in events
- places of worship remain open, but you must not attend with or socialise with anyone outside of your household or support bubble while you are there, unless a legal exemption applies
- weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions are not allowed, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, 15 people can attend linked commemorative events
- organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however higher-risk contact activity should not take place
- organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors. There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s
- you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
- avoid travelling to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey
- for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list
Exemptions from gatherings limits in all tiers
- as part of a single household, or a support bubble
- for work or providing voluntary or charitable services, including in other people’s homes
- for childcare, education or training – meaning education and training provided as part of a formal curriculum
- for supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after-school childcare), groups and activities for under 18s, and children’s playgroups
- for formal support groups, and parent and child groups – up to 15 people aged 5 and older
- to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
- for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
- for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
- for birth partners
- to attend a funeral – with no more than 30 people present – or a commemorative event such as a wake for someone who has died – with no more than 15 people present
- to see someone who is terminally ill or at the end of life
- to attend a wedding or civil partnership – with no more than 15 people present
- to provide emergency assistance
- to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
- to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
- to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable or to provide respite for a carer
- to facilitate moving home
Those in the high clinical risk groups can expect to be sent information from the government in the coming days – please click here for details.
We understand that with the announcement of a new lockdown there are going to be a number of patients concerned about the situation, especially those in very vulnerable risk groups and also those with children attending educational settings.
The current government advice about high risk groups is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november?fbclid=IwAR0K7Xgty8LCRd3O7ELMbOEMR7doeGPWFR3jPEoeofKFjzY0nsP8h3WuisQ#protecting-people-more-at-risk-from-coronavirus
Further publication is due Monday, and the Government will be writing affected patients. The current guidance for protecting extremely clinically vulnerable groups is available here and is a useful link to send to patients.
The GPs at the surgery have no additional information above and beyond this and are unable to help with requests for sick notes or other letters in such circumstances.
For people concerned about children attending educational settings; we understand and sympathise with the concerns around children attending school at this time, especially if a household has extremely vulnerable members.
As a practice we are very sorry, but decisions about children attending school are not ours to make. It’s not something that we can help with. We would suggest a discussion between the people involved and the school to decide on the best course of action
Sunderland are now in Tier 2 (High alert)
Local COVID alert level: high
This is for areas with a higher level of infections where some additional restrictions are in place.
This means on top of restrictions in alert level medium:
- you must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
- you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law)
- businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
- certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am
- businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
- schools, universities and places of worship remain open
- weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
- exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors; these will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with; there are exceptions for supervised activities for under-18s, and disability sport
- you can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
You should continue to:
- follow social distancing rules
- work from home where you can effectively do so
- walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport
Find out more about the measures that apply in high alert level areas to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The Covid-19 situation in Sunderland is becoming serious. We need to you to ‘Do Your Bit’ to prevent the spread and protect love ones Sunderland Covid
From Monday 6th July we have the ability to see patients in our usual surgery setting – HOWEVER – It is not business as usual.
This has been a mammoth task due to the complications of having an urgent walk in centre in the same building, but we have been able to apply the safety measures needed to ensure yours and staff safety in keeping the government guidance through numerous complex risk assessments.
We thank you for your continued support during this crisis. We continue to operate in a way that does the most to protect the lives of our patients and our staff. This includes continuing to run all services by a telephone / video triage in the first instance.
In line with national guidance, over 90% of patients are currently safely managed by video or telephone consultations. For those that do need to be seen, all staff will be wearing PPE and cleaning areas between cases. This takes time and reduces capacity. An example of this is our phlebotomy service which is usually a 5 minute appointment is now 15/ We have limited capacity in the waiting toom because of social distancing rules and this also presents its own challenges.
COVID is still here. We are still seeing cases in the community and still need provisions for “hot sites” as well as home visiting services.
This means in terms of restarting routine services, we are a long way away from what we used to do. It is not business as usual. A much worse second wave or surge is a very real possibility and we are being guided by the Royal College of General Practitioners, our Integrated Care Partnership, Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS England, to ensure we prioritise the right services and groups going forward.
With courage, commitment and teamwork our staff have risen to the challenge that COVID presented. Working more hours that even before, putting theirs and their family’s health and wellbeing at risk daily. We have innovated and brought in new technologies. We have made changes in days that normally take months or years even.
We are here for you. Please be here for us.
DO NOT attend the practice unless you have an appointment.
From 1st June we will be asking anyone attending the surgery for a face to face appointment to wear a face covering. If you don’t have a mask or scarf, a tea towel or similar held over the mouth and nose will suffice. If you attend with nothing you will we be given something to cover your mouth and nose.
This is a practice requirement for your safety as well as ours and is non negotiable.
PLEASE DO NOT ATTEND THE PRACTICE FOR ANY REASON.
CALL US, EMAIL OR USE E-CONSULT.
Thank you for your Co-operation.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): what you need to do
We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:
wash hands – keep washing your hands regularly
cover face – wear a face covering when in enclosed spaces
make space – stay at least a metre away from anyone not in your household.
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
Anyone can spread the virus.
New update for those in SHIELDING Category
What has changed
The guidance for the clinically extremely vulnerable is that shielding has been paused. This means:
- you do not need to follow previous shielding advice
- you can go to work as long as the workplace is Covid-secure, but should carry on working from home wherever possible
- clinically extremely vulnerable children should attend education settings in line with the wider guidance on reopening of schools and guidance for full opening: special schools and other specialist settings
- you can go outside as much as you like but you should still try to keep your overall social interactions low
- you can visit businesses, such as supermarkets, pubs and shops, while keeping 2 metres away from others wherever possible or 1 metre, plus other precautions
- you should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and that you maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace
- you will no longer receive free food parcels, medicine deliveries and basic care from the National Shielding Service
For practical tips on staying safe, see the guidance on how to stay safe outside your home.
You will still be able to get:
- local volunteer support by contacting your local authority
- prescriptions, essential items and food you buy delivered by NHS Volunteer Responders
- priority slots for supermarket deliveries (if you previously registered for free food parcels)
If you are struggling with help as you’re shielding or living with someone who has to shield please call 0800 0288327, the Government’s dedicated helpline, Sunderland City Council on 0800 234 6084 / firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us and we will refer you onto our social prescribers who can link you with services and volunteers available in your area to assist with shopping, taking care of pets/walking, making meals, delivering food parcels, giving support, collecting prescriptions/medicines. You can also click here to register for assistance.
We have had a lot of requests from parents and carers asking if we had ideas on how to keep the children entertained if we go into lockdown due to the Coronavirus outbreak. These are worrying times but look out for each other, check on elderly neighbours and try not to panic.
If schools shut down which is looking likely, many parents will be looking for ways to keep their children occupied while potentially trying to juggle working from home themselves. We have put together some ideas to try and make this time easier.
Click on the following links for some ideas:
123 Homeschool for ME
Free printable worksheets and educational activities to help making learning fun. Resources arranged by grade or subject.
Purple Mash is a website designed for children aged 3-11. It contains many creative tools ie: coding, animation, publishing, art and also applications for maths, spelling and grammar.
Bitesize is the BBC’s free online study support resource for school-age students in the United Kingdom. It is designed to aid students in both schoolwork and, for older students, exams.
Lots of exercise activties for movement breaks.
ABDO’s entire eBook collection is now available to students to access at home for free.
Activity Village provides thousands of colouring pages, crafts, puzzles, worksheets and more, for parents and teachers.
All Kids Network
We offer FREE educational resources, worksheets, writing prompts, themed colouring pages, craft and snack ideas for parents, teachers and caregivers.
Artrageous with Nate
Videos about artists and art projects to create.
Bamboo Learning offers FREE voice-based applications (Alexa skills) that cover a range of academic subjects, including math, ELA/listening comprehension, and social studies.Website: https://bit.ly/33xffad
Black Box Education
Digital and interactive resources for drama, dance and theatre.Website: https://bit.ly/3diSjjt
We can’t advise you whether you should or shouldn’t self isolate if you are at risk, we have a considerable number of patients – please follow the guidance I know it’s not perfect but we don’t have anything else we can tell you.
EMPLOYMENT & FINANCIAL
COVID-19 testing for the purposes of international travel is not available on the NHS.
Pre-travel COVID-19 tests may be available in the private sector, however, private testing processes and accuracy of results may vary. This should be discussed with the test provider before payment. If you need to travel internationally for work and require evidence of a test, you should speak to your employer or occupational health adviser.
If you fall into the highest risk category you will have received a letter or text from NHS England with details on shielding.
Those at high risk will be contacted by their GP surgery in the coming days once NHS Digital have compiled the relevant criteria for us to identify those that fall into this cohort.
The NHS and Public Health England (PHE) are extremely well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases. The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.
Do not go to a GP surgery, community pharmacy or hospital.
You can of course call us for advice.
Like the common cold, coronavirus infection usually occurs through close contact with a person with novel coronavirus via cough and sneezes or hand contact. A person can also be infected by touching contaminated surfaces if they do not wash their hands.
It’s scary to learn that an illness such as coronavirus (COVID-19) is spreading across the globe. The early stages of a pandemic can be especially anxiety-provoking. During this time, you don’t know how widespread or deadly the illness is going to end up being.
Ways to take care of yourself include:
- Reading the news from reliable sources (and take breaks from the news)
- Recognizing the things you can control, like having good hygiene
- Taking measures only if recommended by Public Health
- Practicing self-care
- Seeking professional help should your feelings become unmanageable
Please follow the links below for more support.
Due to the interruption of the medicines supply we have been advised to change our prescribing, you may find that some items are only 1 month supply instead of your usual 2 months. This may be because of interruptions in supply, we will of course keep you up to date with any developments going forward. Any medications that are not able to go via EPS will be posted out to you or sent to your pharmacy of choice and you can collect them from there.
We can’t do prescriptions early or give you more just in case – the pharmacies are struggling already, you don’t want the pharmacies to be like the supermarkets.
We can’t give you an inhaler even though you had one 5 years ago when you had a bad cough – just in case – I know it’s scary but lots of people really really need these inhalers and if you get one just in case they might not be able to get one that they really need!
We cant give you paracetamol on prescription just because you cant buy it over the counter.
Thank you for your cooperation at this time.
NHS Immunisations FAQs (for public)
Why aren’t you stopping routine immunisations?
Whilst preventing the spread of COVID-19 and caring for those infected is a public health priority, it is very important to maintain good coverage of immunisations, particularly in the childhood programme. In addition to protecting the individual, this will avoid outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases that could increase further the numbers of patients requiring health services.
Should people/babies really still go and be immunised at their GP surgery even though there is a risk that by doing this they may be infected with COVID-19?
Your GP surgery or health clinic will take all possible precautions to protect you and your baby from COVID-19. People should still attend for routine vaccinations unless they are unwell (check with your GP whether you should still attend) or self-isolating because they have been in contact with someone with COVID-19. In these circumstances please rearrange your appointment. Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent against other infectious diseases. Babies and toddlers in particular need vaccinations to protect them from measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), rotavirus, diphtheria, whooping cough, meningitis, polio, tetanus, hepatitis B, TB and more.
What are “routine” childhood immunisations?
The national immunisation programme is highly successful in reducing the incidence of serious and sometimes life-threatening diseases such as pneumococcal and meningococcal infections, whooping cough, diphtheria and measles. It remains important to maintain the best possible vaccine uptake to prevent a resurgence of these infections.
Practices will be prioritising the following:
- Routine childhood immunisations, from 8 weeks up to and including vaccines due at one year of age including first MMR and hepatitis B for at risk infants;
- Pertussis vaccination in pregnancy;
- Pneumococcal vaccination for those in risk groups from 2 to 64 years of age and those aged 65 years and over (subject to supplies of PPV23 and clinical prioritisation).
Neonatal BCG and all doses of targeted hepatitis B vaccines should also be offered in a timely manner.
If you are not doing school age immunisations, isn’t there a risk that we will see big increases in the diseases those children are normally vaccinated against?
School aged immunisations will be rescheduled. UK government has provided clear public health advice on specific measures to take to prevent further Coronavirus cases which includes social distancing. On this basis, community clinics are not recommended given that this is likely to increase the risk of exposure to the virus.
Do GP surgeries really still have the time to do immunisations?
Practices will be busy responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and the routine childhood immunisation programme will continue to play an important role in preventing ill-health through causes other than coronavirus infection.
How important is it that you get your immunisation at the time you are called? Is there a risk in delaying for a few months and if there isn’t then why don’t we stop and reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 through a visit to the general practice?
Parents should be informed that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important that routine childhood immunisations are started and completed on time. This will help protect the infant or child from a range of serious and sometimes life-threatening infections. Whilst infections such as invasive pneumococcal and meningococcal disease are now much reduced in incidence, this has only come
about because of high levels of vaccination. To prevent resurgence, infants still need protecting through vaccination. Pertussis continues to circulate at elevated levels and it remains important that pregnant women are offered the pertussis vaccine, and that their babies start receiving protection against this, and other infections, from 8 weeks of age.
There is a shortage of liquid infant paracetamol which is often used by parents to help manage a baby’s reaction to their routine immunisations so won’t parents stop bringing their babies because of this?
Vaccination to protect from serious conditions should not be delayed. Whilst parents should continue to try to obtain and administer infant paracetamol if possible, infant vaccines can and should still be given even if it is not possible to give prophylactic paracetamol.
Where parents have been unable to obtain infant paracetamol, the following advice is for clinical staff in primary care and parents.
- • Fever can be expected after any vaccination but is more common when the MenB vaccine (Bexsero) is given with the other routine vaccines at eight and sixteen weeks of age.
- • In infants who do develop a fever after vaccination, the fever tends to peak around six hours after vaccination and is nearly always gone completely within two days.
- • Ibuprofen can alternatively be used to treat a fever and other post-vaccination reactions. Prophylactic ibuprofen at the time of vaccination is not effective. Ibuprofen is not licensed for infants under the age of 3 months or body-weight under 5 kg. However, the BNF for Children advises that ibuprofen can be used for post-immunisation pyrexia in infants aged 2 to 3 months, on doctor’s advice only, using 50 mg for 1 dose, followed by 50 mg after 6 hours if required. See the BNF for Children for more details https://bnfc.nice.org.uk/drug/ibuprofen.html#indicationsAndDoses
- • There have been concerns about the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, in relation to COVID-19. This is being investigated by the Commission on Human Medicines and NICE. NHS England have advised in the interim for patients who have confirmed COVID-19, or believe they have COVID-19, that they use paracetamol in preference to NSAIDs. If parents cannot obtain their own supply of infant paracetamol and it has not been possible to prescribe it, as their baby will have been assessed as being well before vaccination, providing their baby has fever only and no symptoms consistent with COVID-19 infection, consideration should be given to using ibuprofen as described above. https://www.cas.mhra.gov.uk/ViewandAcknowledgment/ViewAlert.aspx?AlertID=103001
- • Information about treating a fever in children is available from the NHS UK webpage “Fever in children” at www.nhs.uk/conditions/fever-in-children/
- • If an infant still has a fever 48 hours after vaccination or if parents are concerned about their infant’s health at any time, they should seek advice from their GP or NHS 111.
- • The diseases that the vaccines protect against are very serious and therefore vaccination should not be delayed because of concerns about post-vaccination fever.
How will parents know when their babies have a temperature after their regular immunisations whether it is an expected reaction or COVID-19?
Parents should be advised that the vaccines given may cause a fever which is usually resolved within 48 hours (or 6 to 11 days following MMR). This is a common expected reaction and isolation is not required, unless COVID-19 is suspected.
When the MenB vaccine (Bexsero) is given with other vaccines at 8 and 16 weeks of age, fever is more common. Where parents are able to obtain liquid infant paracetamol, they should follow existing
PHE guidance on the use of prophylactic paracetamol following MenB vaccination available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/menb-vaccine-and-paracetamol
Indications to date suggest that COVID-19 causes mild or asymptomatic illness in infants and children. As has always been recommended, any infant with fever after vaccination should be monitored and if parents are concerned about their infant’s health at any time, they should seek advice from their GP or NHS 111. Post-immunisation fever alone is not a reason to self-isolate.
This advice applies to recently vaccinated people of all ages.
Any infant with fever after vaccination should be monitored and if parents are concerned about their infant’s health at any time, they should seek advice from their GP or NHS 111.
Should people aged 70 and over attend the practice for immunisation?
It is recommended that PPV23 continues to be offered to eligible groups, including those aged 70 and over who have not previously been vaccinated. If an eligible individual aged 70 years and over attends the practice for other reasons, the opportunity to vaccinate them should be used. This may also present an opportunity to vaccinate them against shingles if they are eligible.
AN OPEN LETTER TO OUR PATIENTS 13th March 2020
HYLTON MEDICAL GROUP
Patient Statement regarding Coronavirus / COVID 19
It is possible that in the coming weeks there may be a reduced service with no routine appointments available at short notice due to staffing or operational issues, however we are making every effort to provide online access via e-consult and telephone triage access should this become an issue in practice.
This virus has bought new and increasing challenges and our primary concern remains keeping our patients and our staff as safe as possible.
For that reason, we are putting in place some pre-emptive contingencies to reduce the possibility of spreading the virus.
From Monday 16th march all appointments that were pre-booked have been screened for any COVID 19 symptoms.
ALL newly booked appointments will be via the telephone with a GP or practice nurse.
If the clinician feels they need to see you they will give you an appointment later that day.
These measures may be different from practice to practice, and we ask for your patience and co-operation in supporting any measures put in place to protect you.
Practices have suspended online Face to Face appointment booking to mitigate any risk of potentially infected patients booking an appointment online to attend the surgery when they should be receiving advice to self-isolate and use the NHS 111 online service at https://111.nhs.uk/service/covid-19.
111 will arrange for testing, if needed, and will advise on self-isolation measures, should they be necessary.
WHAT ARE WE DOING?
For all medical issues, please call the surgery as usual. If your need is urgent for the day you will be added to a telephone clinic. A clinician will call you and either manage your problem on the phone or arrange a same-day appointment if needed.
Telephone appointments allow for triage and are more effective in signposting patients to the most appropriate service.
We offer e-consult or email services, and we would encourage people to use these facilities for non-urgent queries. You do not need to be registered for online access to avail of the e-consult service.
You may be asked at times to wear a mask whilst being examined, and we ask that should this be requested of you that you comply. We need to keep our clinicians safe so they can continue to treat patients.
We would like to reassure you that we are continually refining our plans for this outbreak and are working together to minimise impact on our services. All updates will be via this forum.
Please don’t shout at your GP staff when they can’t do these things because remember we will still make sure you get the medication you NEED and we will still provide the best possible care – over the phone or Face to face if absolutely necessary!!
We thank you for your understanding.