Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine
New guidance has been issued for the use of the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
This follows further reviews by the independent regulator, the MHRA, and the Commission for Human Medicines, of a very small number of people in the UK who have developed a rare blood-clotting condition since having the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.
The MHRA and Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations have emphasised that the risk of this condition is extremely small and that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks for the vast majority of people. They have recommended that:
- Everyone who has had the AstraZeneca vaccine should still have a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, irrespective of age, unless they have had a blood clot or have an existing risk of thrombosis (blood clotting)
- People aged 30 and over or who have a health condition that puts them at higher risk of severe Covid-19 disease should still be offered the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. The benefits in protecting them against the serious consequences of COVID-19 outweigh any risk of this rare condition.
- People aged 18-29 who do not have a health condition that puts them at higher risk of severe Covid-19 disease will be offered an alternative Covid-19 vaccine where available. (This has been recommended as a precaution as people under 30 are at less risk from Covid-19 and not because they are considered to be at particular risk of developing the rare blood clot.)
- People under 30 can still choose to have the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine if this will mean they can be protected more quickly and they have been made aware of the guidance.
Please see the leaflet below that has been produced by Public Health England and the NHS to answer any questions you may have
Leaflet on COVID-19 vaccination and blood clotting (EXTERNAL LINK)
Covid-19 vaccinations call
We are experiencing a very high volume of calls to the practice at the moment and we are asking patients not to call us with vaccination enquiries. We will contact you when the time is right and as more vaccine becomes available. In the meantime, you can go online to learn more about why you have to wait for your COVID-19 vaccine:
Personally affected - so isolating for seven days
According to government regulations, patients can and must self-certify for the first seven days, if they are unfit for work. They do not need to contact their GP for a note.
Personally affected and remaining unwell for over seven days
If patients remain unwell and unfit to work after seven days, the current advice is to visit https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/ to obtain an Isolation Note after going through an online assessment tool. They do not need to contact their GP.
Household contact affected - so isolating for fourteen days as per Government advice
Again, patients should visit https://111.nhs.uk/isolation-note/ to obtain an Isolation Note that they can then forward to their employer. They do not need to contact their GP.
At risk groups - following government advice
GPs cannot and are not the gatekeeper of the statutory sick pay system. Employers are responsible for putting in place arrangements for home/remote working where this is possible. Where it is not, the employee may self-certify and return to work following the relevant absence which their employer may authorise as per government advice. Where they do become unwell during or after this time, point 1 and 2 applies. If a patient in a high-risk group has received a letter starting this week from the NHS advising isolation for 12 weeks, then a copy of that letter can be provided to their employer as evidence. They do not need to contact their GP.
Note for Employer: As per the current www.gov.uk S13 Guidance for Employers it should be noted that by law, medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness. After 7 days, it is for the employer to determine what evidence they require, if any, from the employee. This does not need to be a fit note (MED3) issued by a GP or any other doctor. “Your employee will be advised to isolate themselves and not to work in contact with other people by NHS 111 or Public Health England if they are a carrier of, or have been in contact with, an infectious or contagious disease, such as Covid-19. “We strongly suggest that employers use their discretion around the need for medical evidence for a period of absence where an employee is advised to stay at home due to suspected Covid-19, in accordance with the public health advice being issued by the government.
Those in full time education.
There is no NHS requirement for GPs to issue certification to schools or colleges to confirm absence. These organisations must work with parents and students to ensure that any absence is appropriately recorded, obviating the need for a ‘doctor’s note’. They do not need to contact their GP.
Our GPs have a responsibility to prioritise the assessment and management of the needs of their patients at this challenging time. We thank you for your support in helping us achieve this.