Together We’re Better COVID-19 Stakeholder Update
It’s now been a week since beer gardens, gyms, non-essential shops and hairdressers have reopened, amongst many other businesses, to which many of us turn for our leisure activities. We’ve seen pictures across the news of determined folk sat out in the rain and even snow to get their first pint or plate of ‘pub grub’, and it’s certainly been a rush to get in for those haircuts. All in all, a very welcome step forward for many.
The Holy month of Ramadan also began last Monday and will end on the evening of Wednesday, 12 April. During the Holy month, observing Muslims are required to abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk for 30 days – this is known as fasting.
Many of you will realise that this means the Holy month of Ramadan is taking place during a key time in the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Some observing Muslims will be invited to receive their first or second dose during this time and we know that this may cause some uncertainty over breaking the fast. We are working with GPs, community and faith leaders, councils and providers to provide guidance and reassurance to our local Muslim communities on this matter.
The key things to note are:
- Local GPs are urging Muslims not to delay having their COVID-19 vaccine – first or second dose – during the holy month of Ramadan
- The safest and most effective way to protect yourself, your family and those most at risk from the virus is by having a vaccine when you are offered it by the NHS
- To reassure the Muslim community, the British Islamic Medical Association has reviewed the analysis of Islamic scholars and confirmed that having the vaccine does not invalidate the fast. If you are still unsure whether you should have a vaccine during the holy month please speak to your local Imam for guidance
- The vaccine does not contain pork or other animal, foetal or alcohol products – this reflects the advice of the majority of Islamic scholars that it is permissible
- If you are taking prescribed medicines, you should continue taking them during Ramadan, but check with your GP if the doses need to be adjusted or the times you take them need to be changed
- If you have diabetes and want to fast, please speak to your GP or diabetes nurse about the safest way to do this. Remember that there is an exemption for people with diabetes, especially if you’re on insulin or have any medical complications.
We also want to reassure the rest of the residents of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent that, if you have received your first dose of a vaccine, you will be called forward for your second dose. Second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are due to be given within 12 weeks of the first dose. Most of the time, you will be contacted about 11 weeks after your first vaccine, but sometimes this might be a few days later. Please don’t worry about whether or not you’ll get your second dose – we want to reassure you that we know who has had their first doses and when, and we are confident that there is plenty of vaccine to go round. You will be called when you can get your second dose and this will be within 12 weeks of your first dose.
You may have seen that last week three pilot sites in the West Midlands began using the Moderna vaccine, with one of these pilot sites being at our Tunstall centre. This vaccine uses similar technology to the Pfizer vaccine. However, this does not require such extreme refrigeration for storage – it can be stored for 30 days at normal fridge temperatures and can be kept for up to six months at -20C if needed. We expect that this vaccine, alongside the Pfizer jab, may be used for those under 30s with rearranged appointments, following the recent advice about the AstraZeneca vaccine.
It’s worth noting, though, that some people under 30 do fall into the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) and have already had the AstraZeneca jab. If you fall into that category, had no serious side-effects from your first dose and don’t have any of the listed conditions highlighted by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), you should still come forward for your second dose of AstraZeneca. The list of conditions highlighted by the MHRA as needing further consideration, current or past, are:
- Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis
- Antiphospholipid syndrome
- Acquired or genetic haemophilia
- Heparin induced thrombocytopaenia
- Major thrombosis with thrombocytopaenia
Twice-weekly COVID-19 testing is also big on the agenda this week and will be a part of our routines now for some time. Lateral flow testing offers quick results – confirmation in under 30 minutes. You can now access these tests via:
- A home ordering service
- workplace testing programmes, on-site or at home
- community testing, offered by councils
- collection at a local test site during specific test collection time windows
- testing on-site at schools and colleges
- a new ‘Pharmacy Collect’ service
Alternatively, if you’d rather go to a testing site and be helped with the test, you can book appointments online at https://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/testing for Staffordshire and https://www.stoke.gov.uk/bookacovid19test for Stoke-on-Trent.
People with symptoms should always self-isolate and book a test at www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or ring 119.
Integrated Care System Board
Last Thursday (15 April) the Integrated Care System (ICS) held it’s second ever Board meeting in public. Members of the public were invited to send in questions ahead of the meeting that were relevant to that meeting’s agenda. Thank you to those who sent in questions to the Board and to everyone who watched the live stream of the meeting.
If you missed the meeting, or would like to watch it back, you can access the recording via this page. The next meeting in public will take place on Thursday, 17 June 2021 at 2pm until 4pm. The agenda and meeting papers will be able on the above webpage one week before the meeting. Once again, members of the public will be invited to send in any questions relating to the agenda. The livestream link will also be available one week prior to the meeting date.
Easy read resources:
- Covid Vaccine film (produced with Skills for People and Learning Disability England)
- Easy Read: Covid vaccination (PHE)
- Easy Read: What to expect after the vaccine? (PHE)
- Easy Read: Adult consent form (PHE)
- Easy Read: How to test yourself for Covid-19 before you go to hospital
- Easy Read: How to test yourself for Covid-19 at home
- NHS easy read Covid vaccination frequently answered questions