We are currently sending out invites for COVID vaccinations via text message. You will be asked to click on a link which will then take you to an appointment system through AccuRx. Please note this is a genuine message from the Practice and not a spam message.
Update on Covid vaccine safety and effectiveness by Dr Andrew Lee:
All of us at the West Common Lane practice are delighted that progress with vaccination is being made rapidly and that 78% of all people registered with us aged over 50 years and those under 50 years with higher risk conditions have already received their first dose of a Covid vaccine.
We also understand though that news and social media can contain worrying reports that might make you doubt whether you should have a Covid vaccine or give you concern after already having it, so below is some information about those recent reports. This update is about the vaccine produced by AstraZeneca, which was developed through work with Oxford University. Some reports call it the 'AZ' vaccine or the 'Oxford' vaccine.
You may have read or heard reports recently about some countries in Europe pausing use of this vaccine, while a review took place of reports of some people developing blood clots (thrombosis) within a couple of weeks after their vaccination. Reviews were undertaken by the agencies responsible for medicines safety in both the UK and Europe and both concluded that there was no evidence these cases of people developing blood clots were due to them receiving the vaccine. Most countries have now restarted using this vaccine.
Below are two examples to show that there has not been an increase of people developing a blood clot after vaccination.
Each year 1-2 in every thousand people in the UK develop a blood clot that causes symptoms. More than half of the people who develop blood clots, do so while in hospital or soon after discharge. Based on the normal rate only for people who have not been in hospital recently, still means that we would expect between 420 and 840 people to have developed a blood clot amongst the more than 11 million people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK so far. In fact, only 27 people in the UK have developed a blood clot after this vaccination, so this is far lower than would be expected naturally.
Each year 1-2 in every hundred thousand people develop a particular type of blood clot that affects a vein in the head and these are most common in women aged between 30 and 50 years. This normal rate means that we would expect between 24 and 60 people to have developed this type of blood clot amongst the more than 11 million people who have received the AstraZeneca vaccine in the UK so far. In fact, only 5 people in the UK have developed this type of blood clot after this vaccination, so this is also much lower than would be expected naturally.
You may have read or heard reports that the AstraZeneca vaccine is less effective than other Covid vaccines or is less effective in older people or less effective against some of the newer 'Covid' variants that have been responsible for more recent surges of infection in many countries. The latest trial results involved people in Brazil and the USA, during the recent time when there have been high rates of infection with the newer 'Covid' variants in those countries. The vaccine prevented infection in 79% of people and prevented everyone (100%!) from developing severe illness. These are amazing results and show that the vaccine is equally effective against the newer variants. This latest trial also included many more people over the age of 65 than earlier trials so the results show that the vaccine is very effective for older people too.
We hope you find this information helpful and reassuring. If you still have any questions or concerns about receiving the vaccine, please contact us by phoning Reception or by using our online enquiry service and we will be able to advise you. If you have already been offered vaccination and declined to have it because of concerns, but want to change your mind now, please contact us by phoning Reception or by using our online enquiry service and we will arrange an appointment for you as soon as possible.
SMS Vaccination Appointment Invites
The National Booking Service has begun carefully trialling a text message service for Covid-19 vaccination invitations and reminders, in addition to the letters that are currently sent to eligible people. Over 400,000 people aged 55 or in receipt of Carer’s Allowance will be the first to receive text message invites this week (Tuesday 9 March).
The text message will be sent using the Government’s secure Notify service. They will appear as being sent from NHSvaccine; this name has been protected so it can’t be used by any other text messaging service. The initial invite message will read:
‘NHS - You are now eligible for your free NHS coronavirus vaccination. Please book online at https://www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119. You will need to provide your name, date of birth and postcode. Your phone number has been obtained from your GP records.’
In common with the letter invites, the text messages will invite people to book online at nhs.uk/covidvaccine or by calling 119, for an appointment at a local Vaccination Centre or pharmacy-led site.
Letters will continue to be sent to all eligible individuals in parallel, as the NHS does not hold telephone details for all eligible individuals, and for some people a text message may not be the best way to communicate, including those who need letters in different languages or formats.
If someone does not respond to the initial text message and letter invite after 2-3 weeks, and no vaccination record is made by another service, the NHS will send a further message and letter. The message will read:
‘NHS - Reminder: please book your free coronavirus vaccination online at https://www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination or by calling 119. Protect yourself and others'