Together we’re better Covid-19 Stakeholder update
Last week we administered our 200,000th vaccine in Staffordshire and Stoke-on Trent. Our teams across the patch have been working extremely hard, vaccinating and protecting citizens against this virus. It truly is a Herculean effort, particularly by our GPs and our thanks go to everyone involved.
Until now, the NHS has asked people to wait until they are contacted about the vaccine to help ensure that those who are most vulnerable are protected first – and that remains the case for most people.
However, the NHS is now asking people aged 70 and over and clinically extremely vulnerable adults on the Shielded Patients’ List who have not been vaccinated yet to come forward and make an appointment.
The easiest way to arrange a vaccination is through the national booking service which can be accessed at www.nhs.uk/covid-vaccination.
Anyone unable to book online can call 119 free of charge, anytime between 7am and 11pm, seven days a week. You can also call your GP if you don’t manage to book through either of these recommended routes.
The vaccine is one of the best ways to reduce COVID-19 cases and we want to encourage as many at risk groups as possible to take up the vaccine.
Another extremely important piece of armour we have against the virus remains Hands. Face. Space. This continues to be one of the single most effective ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Everyone should continue to cover their face, wash hands regularly and keep a safe distance from others. This applies whether you have had your vaccine or not and will help to keep you and those around you safe.
Getting tested regularly if you have to leave home is also really important. Whether that be to go to work, do essential shopping or visit your support bubble. Regular testing will mean that we can identify people who’ve got the virus but aren’t aware of it. After all, one in three people who have COVID-19 don’t get any symptoms at all!
People without symptoms can book a test at Welcome to the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Community Test Sites Appointment System (zipporah.co.uk) and the results will be available in about 30 minutes.
People with symptoms or who have been asked to self-isolate should book a coronavirus test online or by ringing 119 and remain in isolation until you receive your test result.
Until the virus is under control, we must all follow the guidance – it’s there to keep us safe.
In Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, we want reassure women that the COVID-19 vaccine will not affect their fertility, it is safe and offers the best protection against the COVID-19 virus.
• There is no evidence that the vaccine affects fertility and those who are trying to become pregnant do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination.
• Women who are breastfeeding can receive the vaccine. Whilst there is no data on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines in breastfeeding women and their babies, they are not thought to be a risk and the benefits of breast-feeding are well known.
• Whilst there is no scientific evidence to suggest the vaccine would be harmful to pregnant women and their babies, the vaccines have not yet been tested in pregnancy. For this reason, vaccinations will not be offered to pregnant women routinely. This is case for most new medicines and vaccines and may change when more data about the COVID-19 vaccination in pregnancy becomes available.
However, pregnant women in at risk groups may be offered the vaccination, including;
• women with a very high risk of catching the infection; and
• those with a clinical condition putting them at high risk of severe complications.
In these cases, women should discuss vaccination with their doctor or midwife to help them make their decision. They may decide that the benefits of vaccination outweigh the risks of catching the virus.
Additional guidance can be found via the links below:
• Women of childbearing age, currently pregnant or breastfeeding leaflet
• Women of childbearing age, currently pregnant or breastfeeding leaflet – large print
If you volunteer or work within your community, and can help encourage the uptake of the vaccine, we have pulled together a Community Resource pack. This pack includes information and materials about the vaccine programme in various formats and languages. It focusses around the concerns people have shared amongst black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) communities, those who live in more deprived areas, and those with sensory disabilities.
You can also help inform the delivery and communication of the vaccination programme within our communities, and ensure consistent and accessible information is available to help people make informed choices to take up the vaccine.
If you are interested join the conversation ‘Communities 2gether’ (previously known as Community Champion Network) for Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vaccine scams continue to threaten our communities, so it is vitally important that we all remain vigilant and understand the risks and signs to look out for. You can see the latest cyber champions tips from Staffordshire Police here.
Articles in this week’s COVID-19 bulletin which you can access via this link include:-
• Third large vaccination site opens near Alrewas
• This week’s statistics
• Link to Dr Paddy Hannigan’s weekly radio interview
Many of us may be experiencing difficult feelings and emotions about the pandemic. This may be about getting sick, the government restrictions, or feeling hopeless about when the pandemic might end. There are lots of ways to help yourself cope. You can find some ideas to help take care of your mental wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic by following this link to the every mind matters website.
You can also look after your physical health by joining these online fitness classes, which allow you to try new exercises at a time that suits you in your home. Whatever your age, ability or fitness level take a look at the Active My Way website to find the right on-demand class for you.
Public Health England has updated its coronavirus guidance in light of changes to the government’s advice and continue to ensure guidance for the public is timely and up to date. All guidance for members of the public, as well as for people in clinical and non-clinical settings, is published and updated regularly on the GOV.UK collection page.
Together We’re Better is the partnership of NHS and local government organisations, alongside independent and voluntary sector groups, that is working together to transform health and care services. You can find out more about us on our website: https://www.twbstaffsandstoke.org.uk/