COVID-19 vaccination FAQs – Sefton

Below you will find some frequently asked questions that we are receiving in Sefton regarding the COVID-19 vaccinations.

When will I get my vaccine?

We understand you will be keen to know when you will receive your vaccination and we are asking for your support and patience as we deliver the biggest vaccination programme the NHS has ever undertaken.

Following the NHS vaccine delivery plan we are first offering the vaccines to those at highest risk of catching the disease and of suffering serious complications or dying from COVID-19.

When we have completed the vaccinations for one priority group and we receive more vaccines, we will then be offering them to other people at risk in the next group as soon as we can. More information on the priority groups can be found here and the image below shows how we are working through this.

 

COVID-19 vaccine prioritisation table

 

My neighbour has had their vaccine, why haven’t I been invited for mine?

The NHS is inviting eligible people in a phased way as supplies of the vaccine allow. It is important to wait to be contacted by the NHS.

Our staff are working around the clock to vaccinate as many people as they can when the vaccines come in and we can assure you that you will be contacted as soon as we are ready to give you your vaccination.

Following the NHS vaccination delivery plan we are working on the prioritisation list starting with those most at risk, once we have completed that priority list we will then move onto the next on the list above.

 

I am a vulnerable patient and people I know who are less vulnerable have had their vaccine, why is this, am I being missed off the list?

No, please be assured you will not be missed off the list. Not all parts of Sefton were able to start vaccinating at the same time, so don’t worry if you have not been contacted yet, we will get to you.

Our GP practices are working through the list of priority patients and as soon as we complete those most at risk we will move onto the next priority group on the list. We will contact you when it is the right time for you to have your vaccine.

Why are we not getting our second dose for 12 weeks?

The UK Chief Medical Officers have agreed a longer timeframe between first and second doses so that more people can get their first dose quickly, and because the evidence shows that one dose still offers a high level of protection after two weeks – 89% for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 74% for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. This decision will allow us to get the maximum benefit for the most people in the shortest possible time and will help save lives.

Getting both doses remains important so we would urge you to return for it at the right time, this will be around 12 weeks after your first dose and you will be contacted when this needs to be arranged. You will get a good level of protection from the first dose but will not get maximum protection until at least 7 to 14 days after your second dose of vaccine.

I’m a bit worried about scams I’m hearing about, can you tell me how to avoid these?

There are some SMS / text message SCAMS taking place related to COVID-19 and more information and example of how these may look can be found here. Please be careful if you do receive a text message, don’t click on a link until you are sure that this is not a scam. Be careful with anything that relates to:

  • A URL link claiming to link to GOV.UK to claim supposed COVID-19 related payments
  • Lockdown fines suggesting you have breached lockdown
  • Offers of health supplements that will prevent you becoming infected
  • Financial support offers that appear to be from your bank

If you are worried that any text message is a scam please don’t respond, report the SMS Scam to Action Fraud by forwarding the message to 7726.

My own practice doesn’t seem to know when or where I can get my vaccine, why not?

We are asking people not to contact their GP practice; you will be contacted when your vaccine is ready. Your GP practice will not know when that will be as it is not planned in advance and it is not until they know when the delivery of vaccines is coming in that they will be able to book you in.

It may not be your GP practice that contacts you, it may be another GP practice depending on where you will have your vaccine but all of this will be explained on a call or in a letter and it will be at a vaccine site that is nearest to you.

What vaccine sites have been set up in Sefton and where will I be vaccinated?

There are now four GP led vaccination sites across the borough in Southport, Maghull, Ainsdale and Bootle. These are supported by roving immunisers, who are going out to vaccinate all care home residents and staff.

As well as our GP led vaccination service, people are also being offered appointments at regional vaccination centres and at local chemists that may be taking part.

Hospitals are also vaccinating front line health staff and those patients who are in hospital may also receive their vaccine whilst there.

Where is my nearest regional vaccination centre?

Regional vaccination centres have started to open to vaccinate people who live within a 45 mile radius who can’t get to a local vaccination centre. St Helens Rugby League Ground, the Totally Wicked Stadium, is the first large-scale COVID-19 vaccination centre in Cheshire and Merseyside.

The venue is an additional option for the people of Cheshire and Merseyside to choose when they are contacted to have their vaccine, alongside the GP led service and local pharmacy venues.

Vaccination will be by appointment only and you are asked not to turn up at the stadium unless you have been contacted by the NHS. Those in the Government’s priority groups will be contacted first and given the option of the St Helens venue.

What if I get invited to go a regional vaccination centre but can’t travel there?

We understand that many of you won’t be able to travel to St Helens, so if you receive a letter to book through the national booking service and you are unable to go to the regional vaccination centre, or you would prefer to have your vaccination via the GP led vaccination service – you do not have to attend or take any action – you will still automatically be contacted by our GP led service, as they work through their patient lists and it’s your turn to be vaccinated.

Similarly if you receive a letter to book through the national booking service and you already have an appointment booked elsewhere please ignore the booking letter. The below image may help to explain the various ways residents are being invited for their vaccines.

 

How to get your COVID-19 vaccination

 

Why are the sites not closer to where I live?

There are strict medical and logistical criteria about which premises are suitable to become vaccination sites to keep you and our staff as safe as possible. In addition, there are restrictions on where the vaccination can be delivered along with how it needs to be stored. This is why the vaccine might not be being delivered in your own GP practice or nearer to where you live.

 

I can’t get to my GP or vaccination centre – how will you help me?

People who are housebound will be contacted by their GP services about alternative ways to get vaccinated. People can also wait until more locations closer to where they live become available. The NHS will follow up with people that haven’t booked their appointment, as a reminder.

 

My friend has told me where the vaccines are, shall I just turn up?

No, please don’t turn up to a vaccine site unless you have been called or sent a letter to book your appointment by the NHS. We have to adhere to social distancing guidelines and keep everyone safe which is why we are operating a booking system for the vaccine.

 

I live with someone in a priority group – will I get vaccinated too?

The current prioritisation plan does not include household members of NHS staff or clinically vulnerable people automatically – although in some cases family members may be eligible in their own right.

 

When I do get my appointment, should I get there early?

Please don’t come early, we are asking people to come as close to their appointment time as possible. This is to ensure that we don’t have too many people in the waiting area at one time and that we keep you all safe adhering to social distancing guidelines.

 

How will I be contacted, by phone or a letter?

When it is the right time you will receive an invitation to come forward. For most of you this will be in the form of a letter either from your GP or the national booking system; this will include all the information you need, including your NHS number. It might be that you receive a call, it just depends how the GP practice is handling this.

You can now book an appointment if you are eligible via the national booking service without a letter or by calling 119.

 

I am concerned about the impact of the vaccine on my fertility. What advice is there to reassure me?

Advice for pregnant women, women trying to become pregnant and those who are breast feeding can be found on the GOV.UK website here. If you are concerned about the impact of the vaccine on fertility, please click here to see the latest advice from the Royal College of Midwives and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. For advice to people currently undergoing or considering fertility treatment please see the following advice from our own Hewitt Fertility Centre here.

Two experts from Liverpool Women’s Hospital have also put the following short video together to provide some reassurance on issues relating to fertility and pregnancy. You can hear from Alice Bird (Consultant Obstetrician) and Andrew Drakeley (Consultant Gynaecologist and Clinical Director for the Hewitt Fertility Centre) in a short 3 minute video here.

Can I choose which vaccine to have? 

No. Any vaccines that the NHS will provide will have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy, so people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get, it is worth their while.

You will have to have two doses of the same vaccine, as per official guidance from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Which vaccine will I get?

Both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines are now available. Both vaccines have been shown to be safe and offer high levels of protection and have been given regulatory approval by the MHRA. The Government has in principle secured access to seven different vaccine candidates, across four different vaccine types, totalling over 357 million doses. This includes: 40 million doses of the BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine 100m doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine. 17 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, which has been approved by the MHRA but is not expected to be delivered to the NHS until Spring.