Vaccine update: Family doctors set to roll out vaccine today – what are the side effects?

Vaccine update: Family doctors set to roll out vaccine today – what are the side effects?

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The approved Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will have been delivered to GP practices in more than 100 locations today, with some offering vaccinations within hours. Care home residents in Scotland are due to receive the vaccine for the first time on Monday, while NHS England and NHS Improvement said the majority of GPs will begin providing vaccination services to their local community from Tuesday. NHS staff including nurses and pharmacists will work alongside GPs to inoculate those aged 80 and over, as well as care home workers and residents.

The vaccination centres will operate from doctors’ surgeries or community hubs in villages, towns and cities.

Professor Martin Marshall, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs and our teams are about to embark on an enormous challenge, delivering the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the community whilst also delivering the expanded flu vaccine programme and the usual care and services our patients rely on us for.”

Amid the ambitious rollout, there are growing questions and concerns about possible side effects.

Speaking in a webinar with Professor Tim Spector of the ZOE COVID Symptom Study, Dr Anna Goodman, Infectious Diseases Consultant at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London, outlined the possible side effects.

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“When people get the vaccine, just like when you get any vaccine, you can expect that it’s going to be painful at the site where you have had the injection,” said Dr Goodman.

“You can also expect that you might have a mild headache and you might be tired for a day or so.”

According to Dr Goodman, these side effects are mild and short-lived.

If you develop any more severe problems after receiving the vaccine, you should contact your doctor.

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Some people have been concerned about a lack of long-term safety data for the vaccines because they are so new.

“95 percent of all potential serious side effects happen within the first four weeks of the second dose,” said Kate, Bingham, Chair of the UK Vaccine Taskforce, who also took part in the webinar.

“Both Pfizer and Oxford have now got substantially more than two months monitoring after the second dose, so we do have good data on safety.”

The vaccine development comes ahead of the five day rule relaxation set to come into effect from December 23 and 27.

The five day exemption is to allow families to spend time together in “Christmas bubbles”.

NHS bosses have warned Prime Minister Boris Johnson that any relaxation of restrictions in England’s tier system could trigger a third wave of cases at the busiest time of the year for hospitals.

Amid a surge in cases in specific areas, the first review of England’s tier allocation is due to take place on Wednesday.

NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts in England, has urged “extreme caution” in moving any area of the country to a lower tier while areas should be moved into the highest tier of restrictions “as soon as this is needed, without any delay”.

COVID-19 – symptoms to look out for

According to the NHS, the main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • A high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • A new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal.

“Most people with coronavirus have at least one of these symptoms,” says the NHS.

If you have any of the main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), get a test as soon as possible. Stay at home until you get the result.

Anyone in your support bubble should also stay at home if you have been in close contact with them since your symptoms started or during the 48 hours before they started.

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