BRIDPORT is one of six centres delivering coronavirus vaccines to those aged 80 and over this week, including to patients from Lyme Regis.
Bridport Medical Centre was selected as Jurassic Coast Primary Care Network’s site, which also covers practices in Beaminster, Lyme Regis and Charmouth and will start vaccinations on Wednesday.
The medical centre has been allocated 975 doses of the vaccine in this first roll-out.
Dr Karen Kirkham GP, clinical lead for Dorset COVID-19 vaccination programme and assistant clinical director of NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “As a local GP in Dorset, I’m so proud of the huge effort that has been made locally to deliver this next phase of the vaccination programme.
“I would like to say a personal thank you to all of the local GPs, nurses, pharmacists, support and logistical staff, other primary care staff, and those in the wider health and social care system who have been working round the clock to make it happen.
“Primary care networks have been working rapidly to redesign their sites and put in place safe processes to meet the tough logistical challenges of offering the vaccination.
“This is very much going to be a marathon, rather than a sprint, and we’d like to ask for the continued help of the public to help us as we continue the roll-out of the vaccination programme for the people of Dorset.
“The NHS will let you know when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. It’s important not to contact the NHS for a vaccination before then.
“If you can’t make an appointment let us know as soon as possible and we can then offer the slot to someone else. You will be called again.”
Sam Crowe, director of public health for Dorset and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole councils, said: “It’s great to see this next phase of the COVID-19 vaccination programme getting underway in Dorset.
“With such a huge programme, it is going to take time to reach everybody and offer enough protection against the virus, so in the meantime it’s really important that we continue to follow the rules to prevent transmission.
“Please only meet people from other households outdoors and keep washing your hands regularly, wearing a face covering and maintaining your distance from others.
“We also need to remain vigilant for any symptoms of COVID-19 – a new, continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change of taste or smell. Please self-isolate immediately and book a test if you have any of these, and remain at home with your household until you get your results back.”
Here’s some frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine:
IS IT SAFE?
The currently available Pfizer vaccine has been tested on over 44,000 test subjects without any serious adverse reactions.
BUT HASN’T IT BEEN RUSHED THROUGH?
It normally takes several years to develop a vaccine. Scientists have had to work collaboratively and rapidly to achieve the same amount of progress in a few months in order to make a safe and effective vaccine available as soon as possible.
Although clinical trials have been carried out more rapidly than they have for other vaccines, this has been achieved by conducting some of the steps in parallel rather than sequentially and vaccine safety has not been compromised.
The vaccine trials have been subject to all of the usual strict trial and regulatory requirements.
WHAT ABOUT ANAPHYLACTOID REACTIONS?
During the first week of the vaccine roll-out, two patients had anaphylactoid reactions (a milder form of anaphylaxis) following injection with the Pfizer vaccine. Both of these patients had pre-existing severe allergies and history of anaphylaxis and carried adrenaline pens. They have both made full recoveries.
As a result of this, patients who have a history of confirmed anaphylaxis to any food, medicine or substance are unable to have the Pfizer vaccine. It is likely that they will be offered one of the other vaccines when they are available.
There is no evidence to suggest that patients without this very specific history of severe allergic reaction would be at any risk from the Pfizer vaccine.
HOW DO I BOOK MY COVID VACCINATION?
The order in which the population must be vaccinated is very specific and therefore patients will be contacted individually to be offered an appointment when they become eligible.
Please do not contact your surgery asking for the vaccination.
WHEN WILL I GET MY JAB?
Over 80s and care staff deemed ‘at risk’ are being prioritised for the vaccine. Timescales for other groups will become clearer over the next few weeks.
HOW MANY DOSES ARE INVOLVED?
You need two injections spaced at least THREE weeks apart to provide protecting from COVID-19. It is essential that you return for the second jab as the first one will likely provide very little or no protection on its own.
DO I NEED TO FOLLOW THE RULES ONCE I HAVE HAD A VACCINATION?
YES! At the moment you need to follow exactly the same rules as directed by the government whether you have had the vaccine or not. This includes isolation guidance if you develop COVID symptoms or are in contact with a symptomatic person.
CAN I HAVE THE VACCINATION IF I AM PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING?
At the moment pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and children are not able to have the Pfizer vaccine. This is purely precautionary whilst we wait for more evidence to emerge from many ongoing studies, and the advice may change.
You are also advised not to have the vaccination if you are trying to become pregnant, or think you are likely to become pregnant in the next three months.
SHOULD I HAVE THE VACCINE IF I ALREADY HAD COVID-19?
Yes, at the moment there is no evidence to show that having COVID-19 gives you lasting immunity from re-infection, you should have the vaccination anyway.
For more information, www.bridportmedicalcentre.co.uk/covid-19