You may have seen on the news that from Monday 17th May, doors at GP practices are “re-opening”. As you will know, our GP practice has been open throughout the pandemic, offering patients telephone and online appointments with face-to-face consultations available for those who need them. This was in-line with national requirement to keep patients as well as clinical staff safe, whilst COVID infection rates were high and before the vaccination was widespread.
GP practices are now being encouraged to offer patients a choice of whether they would like a remote or face to face consultation. However, before we have more people coming into the surgery to see us in person, we need a bit of time to put in place measures to keep everyone safe. As we wait for further national guidance on doing that, we ask that patients continue to contact us by phone or online as you have been doing. We are facing unprecedented demands for our services and will need to continue to adjust how we use our clinicians’ time to best support our patients – particularly those who need us the most.
We will keep you update as soon as we are clear about how we can re-open our waiting rooms and reception areas safely, keeping you and our staff safe at all times. Thank you for your support.
8.5.21 Key information for 'Vaccination passports'
✅ Access via NHS app from May 17th
✅ Register on NHS app now (guide below)
✅ Contact 119 if need a letter for foreign travel
❌ Do NOT contact your GP.
Quick guide to register NHS app: https://youtu.be/Q0SCcLtw8JA
Please see government guidance for latest COVID information and cohorts who are currently being vaccinated.
19.3.21 - message from HVCCG
COVID vaccine supplies
You may have seen news coverage about vaccine supplies over the coming weeks.
From now until 29 March, our GP-run vaccination centre at Batchwood will still be delivering vaccinations to people in the top priority cohorts. This includes everyone aged 50 or over, eligible carers and those in vulnerable groups. If you are one of these patients, you can also choose to book a vaccination online at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/coronavirus-vaccination/coronavirus-vaccine/ or by calling 119.
Everyone who is due to have a second dose of either the Pfizer or the AstraZeneca vaccine between 29 March and the end of April will receive their second dose. If you had your first dose at our GP-run vaccination centre then we will contact you when it is time for your next appointment. There is no need for you to phone us.
If you booked your first appointment at a pharmacy or large vaccination centre through the national booking system website or by calling 119 then you should already have a second dose appointment in your diary, which you should attend as planned.
Any first dose vaccinations already booked to take place in April via the national booking system will also still go ahead.
Up to date information about COVID vaccinations can be found at https://covid.healthierfuture.org.uk/
16.3.21 - message from Herts Valleys CCG
The following information is being added to the COVID-19 vaccination question and answer section on the Healthier Future website https://covid.healthierfuture.org.uk/ . You may wish to use this to answer any queries that you receive directly from patients.
Question: Does the Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine cause blood clots?
Answer: Blood clots can occur naturally and are not uncommon. Reports of blood clots received so far are not greater than the number that we would normally expect to see amongst the groups of the population who have been vaccinated. People should still go and get their COVID-19 vaccine when asked to do so.
More than 11 million doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine have now been administered across the UK. Vaccine safety is of paramount importance and the regulatory agency, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) continually monitors the safety of vaccines in the UK.
For more information and a statement from the MHRA, see this link.
The NHS has warned people to be vigilant about fake invitations to have the coronavirus vaccination, sent by scammers. The NHS will NEVER charge for the vaccine, or ask for bank details
Please report any suspicious emails to Action Fraud www.actionfraud.police.uk
Rapid Community COVID-19 testing launches in Hertfordshire
Hertfordshire Covid: County gears up for 'rapid' system that will see nearly 5,000 residents tested every week - HertsLive (hertfordshiremercury.co.uk)
Hertfordshire County Council - 25 January 2021
Key and essential workers who cannot work from home are being encouraged to book regular rapid Covid-19 tests as part of Hertfordshire’s new community testing scheme launching this week. With rates of COVID-19 in Hertfordshire still high, it is more important than ever that we all continue to play our part in keeping our communities safe. Regular rapid testing is one of the ways those who have to go out to work or for essential reasons can do this.
Community testing ‘pop-up’ sites and roving vehicles are now operating across the county and offer free coronavirus tests to those without symptoms, with results available in around 45 minutes. This programme of rapid testing will help find those who are infected and break the chain of transmission to ensure that essential services in Hertfordshire are as safe as possible. Hertfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Prevention, Tim Hutchings, said: “Around one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms, which means they can spread the virus to their loved ones without realising. “By taking a rapid test, it means you will know almost immediately if you have coronavirus, so that you can protect your family, friends and community and ultimately break the chain of transmission of the virus.”
Organisations across the county are playing their part to support the community rapid testing programme, including sites in St Albans.
10.1.21 MESSAGE REGARDING LETTERS TO PATIENTS REGARDING COVID VACCINE
We understand that some people (over 80) may have received an invitation for a COVID vaccine by post telling them to book online or via the 119 telephone number. This is for vaccinating at Stevenage, the mass vaccination hub. We did not know that these letters were being sent out and although they say they come from us, they have been sent centrally by the NHS. If you receive a letter then it is your choice whether you book in to Stevenage, or wait until you are called for a local vaccine at Batchwood. We just want people to be vaccinated as soon as possible. Please do not book online unless you have received a letter and remember that wherever you choose, you will, in time, need to return to that site for your second dose of the vaccine.
We are aware that during the pandemic, all the information and leaflets we try to keep our patients up to date with is much harder to see, read and understand. We are therefore using this area of our website to keep our patients up to date with a virtual waiting room leaflet area.
We are pleased to say that St Albans practices have joined forces to work together to deliver the vaccination programme and our site has been placed into Wave One of this programme.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have seen a frantic time of working together across our three St Albans PCNs. Abbey PCN (Maltings and Lattimore & Village Surgery), Alban Healthcare PCN (Grange Street, Midway and Parkbury House) and HLH PCN (Harvey Group Practice, Lodge Partnership and Hatfield Road Surgery) are collaborating on a town-wide project to bring the COVID vaccine to the people of St Albans and surrounds.
We shall be running the COVID vaccine clinics for the whole town out of Batchwood Hall (the nightclub) which is being made ready for this purpose. We started these vaccinations on Wednesday 16/12/20. Initially we booked two appointments for each patient but on 30th December 2020 it was announced to alter the second appointments (w/b 4.1.21) to offer further first appointments to more patients allowing a greater number of the community to receive a vaccination. This change caused us considerable work directly before the bank holiday but it was important that we follow the government guidelines and are grateful to the understand of our patients regarding this and changing their plans and appointments for this.
Our joint, St Albans wide, working at Batchwood went well and we look forward to reaching out to all our community to support their COVID vaccinations
Please note that we have to clearly book appointments for our patients according to the Government priority listings. Housebound and patients living in a care home will not be expected to attend Batchwood and will be covered in a different way to this programme.
Our local federation website is kept up to date with information and the link to it is here: https://www.stahfed.co.uk/covid-vaccination-patient-info please do keep an eye on this for further news and things really do change by the minute... please bear with us during this challenging time.
Due to new advice from the UK Chief Medical Officers, your second coronavirus vaccination appointment will be rescheduled, if you received your first dose in St Albans, before 31st December 2020. 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.
Adult Guide to COVID-19 vaccinations
The letter and consent form being sent to patients is also copied here: National COVID invite letter COVID consent letter
What to expect after your COVID vaccine
There has been a lot of media attention regarding patients who have significant allergic reactions and the COVID vaccination. The latest guidance is here:
so at present, we are saying that if you have a history of significant allergic reaction (e.g needing to carry an EpiPen) you should not be booked into on of our appointment slots at the present time.
We do understand that this campaign and priority order can be frustrating for many patients who want their vaccine as quickly as possible, however, we do have to stress, that we do HAVE to follow the guidelines and give this vaccination in the order as instructed. This leaflet explains why
COVID 19 Vaccinations - why i have to wait