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COVID Autumn Booster

Covid Vaccinations will be available from 16th September. Practice will be co-administering covid and flu vaccinations in planned weekend flu clinics at our Elstree & Bushey sites. All eligible patients will be contacted via text message or telephone in coming few weeks to book an appointment. Appointments will be available online or you can book this by contacting the Practice.

Allum Hall will also have clinics for Covid vaccination ONLY from 16th September. Appointments at Allum Hall can be booked by calling 119.

Please see FAQ sheet below for possible covid booster queries based on guidance received so far from JCVI. Additionally our Patient Participation Group has arrange a patient talk on 7th September on vaccinations which will be delivered by Dr Alex Byrne. Please attend the talk and send in any specific queries you have. Details can be found on Patient group Page.

COVID Autumn Booster Fact Sheet

Am I eligible for the Autumn COVID Booster?

The Autumn boosters will be offered to all adults aged 50 and over, people over 5 years of age who are in particular clinical risk groups, or who live with somebody who is severely immunosuppressed (see below for more detail). 

All residents and staff of care homes for older adults, frontline health and social care workers, and carers aged 16 and over will also be offered the booster.

Can I have my flu and COVID booster together?

Yes.  You are likely to be given the COVID vaccination in one arm and ‘Flu in the other, unless there is a particular clinical reason. This will mean that both arms will be a little sore for a few days, however you are able to get both over and done with at the same appointment if both are available, which avoids any further delay in protection.

When will I receive the booster? How can I book an appointment?

The Booster Programme for people aged 18 years and over starts on Monday 5th September, initially with care homes, followed by the main programme from 12th September. 

Schopwick Surgery will be inviting all eligible patients to attend a clinic for Flu and Covid held at Bushey and Elstree Surgeries. Appointments will be available online to book as soon as we get delivery confirmation.

Alternatively you can book via the National Booking Service (NBS) to attend  Allum Hall for COVID vaccination ONLY.  Bookings via the NBS open at the start of the campaign on 6/9/22 accessed via Book or manage a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination – NHS (www.nhs.uk) or by phoning 119

Which vaccination will I be offered? What if it is different to previous ones? Will it cover all new variants?

All of our stock delivered after 5th September has been confirmed as being the new ‘bivalent’ Moderna.  If you are over 18, you will be given a full 0.5ml dose of the bivalent (25/25 micrograms) Moderna COVID-19 vaccine (Spikevax® bivalent original/Omicron) to cover the Omicron variant. The JCVI have not yet confirmed what 5-18 year olds will be offered. 

Can I have the AstraZeneca vaccine?

AstraZeneca vaccine is no longer being supplied for routine use in the UK. When Moderna is not considered clinically suitable, Novavax COVID-19 vaccine may used for primary vaccination of adults over 18 years, including to complete a course or as a booster, although the latter is currently off-label, and we do not yet know where this stock will be held. 

What are the side effects? Will it make me very ill?

All vaccines and medicines can have some side effects.  These need to be balanced against the expected benefits in preventing illness.  Most side effects relate to injection-site reactions (eg a sore arm), or generalised symptoms such as a ‘flu-like illness, headache, chills, fatigue, nausea, fever and aching muscles.  These are likely to be due to an expected, normal and healthy immune response to the vaccine. 

Do I have to wait from 3 months from the date of my previous COVID vaccine?

Yes.  Your Autumn booster can only be given 12 weeks or longer after your most recent dose.

Should I have vaccine if I have recently been tested positive for COVID?

There are no safety concerns from vaccinating individuals who have previously or even currently have COVID, although people with suspected COVID-19 infection should not attend vaccination sessions to avoid infecting others. 

As you can become more poorly for up to two weeks after COVID infection, vaccination should ideally wait until around four weeks after the onset of symptoms, or four weeks from the first confirmed positive test to avoid confusion over whether it is the infection or the vaccination that is causing symptoms.

What are the clinical risk groups?

Chronic respiratory disease 

Individuals with a severe lung condition, including those with poorly controlled asthma (Poorly controlled asthma is defined as: – ≥2 courses of oral corticosteroids in the preceding 24 months OR – on maintenance oral corticosteroids OR – ≥1 hospital admission for asthma in the preceding 24 months), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including chronic bronchitis and emphysema; bronchiectasis, cystic fibrosis, interstitial lung fibrosis, pneumoconiosis and bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD). 

Chronic heart disease and vascular disease 

Congenital heart disease, hypertension with cardiac complications, chronic heart failure, individuals requiring regular medication and/or follow-up for ischaemic heart disease. This includes individuals with atrial fibrillation, peripheral vascular disease or a history of venous thromboembolism.

Chronic kidney disease 

Chronic kidney disease at stage 3, 4 or 5, chronic kidney failure, nephrotic syndrome, kidney transplantation.

Chronic liver disease 

Cirrhosis, biliary atresia, chronic hepatitis. 

Chronic neurological disease 

Stroke, transient ischaemic attack (TIA). Conditions in which respiratory function may be compromised due to neurological or neuromuscular disease (e.g. polio syndrome sufferers). 

This group also includes individuals with cerebral palsy, severe or profound and multiple learning disabilities (PMLD) including all those on the learning disability register, Down’s syndrome, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease and related or similar conditions; or hereditary and degenerative disease of the nervous system or muscles; or severe neurological disability. 

Diabetes mellitus and other endocrine disorders 

Any diabetes, including diet-controlled diabetes, current gestational diabetes, and Addison’s disease. 

Immunosuppression

Immunosuppression due to disease or treatment, including patients undergoing chemotherapy leading to immunosuppression, patients undergoing radical radiotherapy, solid organ transplant recipients, bone marrow or stem cell transplant recipients, HIV infection at all stages, multiple myeloma or genetic disorders affecting the immune system (e.g. IRAK-4, NEMO, complement disorder, SCID). Individuals who are receiving immunosuppressive or immunomodulating biological therapy including, but not limited to, anti-TNF, alemtuzumab, ofatumumab, rituximab, patients receiving protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors, and individuals treated with steroid sparing agents such as cyclophosphamide and mycophenolate mofetil. Individuals treated with or likely to be treated with systemic steroids for more than a month at a dose equivalent to prednisolone at 20mg or more per day for adults. Anyone with a history of haematological malignancy, including leukaemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. Those who require long term immunosuppressive treatment for conditions including, but not limited to, systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, scleroderma and psoriasis. Some immunosuppressed patients may have a suboptimal immunological response to the vaccine (see Immunosuppression and HIV). 

Asplenia or dysfunction of the spleen 

This also includes conditions that may lead to splenic dysfunction, such as homozygous sickle cell disease, thalassemia major and coeliac syndrome.

Morbid obesity 

Adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) ≥40 kg/m². 

Severe mental illness 

Individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, or any mental illness that causes severe functional impairment. 

Younger adults in long-stay nursing and residential care settings 

Many younger adults in residential care settings will be eligible for vaccination because they fall into one of the clinical risk groups above (for example learning disabilities). Given the likely high risk of exposure in these settings, where a high proportion of the population would be considered eligible, vaccination of the whole resident population is recommended. Younger residents in care homes for the elderly will be at high risk of exposure, and although they may be at lower risk of mortality than older residents should not be excluded from vaccination programmes (see priority 1 above).

Pregnancy 

All stages (first, second and third trimesters)

I haven’t had any immunisation yet. How many doses do I need?

You need to have a primary course which consists of 2 doses, 12 weeks apart.  You could then have a booster after a further 12 weeks.  

If you have had only one dose of your primary course more than 12 weeks ago, you should have a second dose as soon as possible, and can then have another booster at least 12 weeks later.  

You do not need to ‘catch up’ other booster doses.