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COVID-19 Vaccine – Information for patients

Designated sites for vaccinations have been set up across the country. You will be invited to attend the vaccination clinic according to the Government’s priority list either by letter, telephone call or text message – timings will vary across different areas. This will initially include people who are over 80 and frontline health and social care workers.

When will vaccinations start? Vaccinations in a hospital setting have already started. For some GP, Primary Care and Community Services, the first wave of vaccinations started on Tuesday 15 December and are being rolled out to all regions by the end of January. After you have had your first vaccine, you will then need to attend a further appointment to receive the second dose at a future date.

PLEASE NOTE – Chelmsford is not in the first wave for vaccinations.  We are due to begin vaccinating at our designated site on or around 13 January 2021.  We will contact you by letter, text or phone call to invite you to attend. 

Who cannot have the vaccine? A very small number of people who are at risk of COVID-19 cannot have the vaccine – this includes people who have severe allergies to a component in the vaccine. Women of childbearing age, those who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding should read the detailed information on www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination.

The Government have also advised that those patient with previous immediate severe allergic reactions to any medicine or food, should not have the Pfizer COVID vaccine.

If you suffer from a bleeding disorder, such as haemophilia, you should discuss having the vaccine with your Specialist or GP. If you are taking Warfarin, please take a record of you latest INR documented in your yellow book to the appointment.

Although the vaccine does not interact with any medicines, please take a record of your repeat prescription in case this requested by the vaccination clinic.

Vaccine information: The vaccines do not contain living organisms, and so are safe for people with disorders of the immune system. These people may not respond so well to the vaccine. The vaccine is suitable for people on vegan, vegetarian, Halal and Kosher diets as well those with an egg allergy.

Will the vaccine have side effects? Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short term and not everyone gets them. Even if you do have symptoms after the first dose, you still need to have the second dose. Very common side effects include having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. You may also experience tiredness, headache, general aches or mild flu like symptoms.

I have had my flu vaccine; do I need the COVID-19 vaccine as well? The flu vaccine does not protect you from COVID-19. As you are eligible for both vaccines you should have them both, but normally separated by at least a week.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19, you will need to wait until your symptoms have resolved and have completed your period of self-isolation before you can have the vaccine.

The government leaflet containing more detail can be accessed here.

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