In the last few days, there has been a change to the guidance from the four UK Chief Medical Officers. They have asked us to reschedule the coronavirus vaccination appointments for all patients who were due to receive their second dose after 4th January 2021.
This is in light of rapidly rising COVID-J9 cases across the country but particularly in London and the South East of England. Much of this is due to a newly found mutant strain of COVID-19. This strain is much more contagious, making it more difficult to contain the virus. As a result, many NHS hospitals are already reaching full capacity and struggling. It is therefore imperative to vaccinate as many people as possible in the coming weeks.
The latest medical advice is that the first dose provides a significant level of protection, but everyone will still need two doses of the vaccine to get the best possible long-term protection from COVID-19. The second dose of the vaccine remains effective even when given up to 12 week after the first. Giving the second dose at 12 weeks rather than three weeks will allow time for the NHS to vaccinate millions of others with their first dose, saving thousands of lives. The new guidance is to help ensure that as many people as possible benefit from the first dose of the vaccine as soon as possible.
We would like to emphasise and reassure you that there are no safety concerns in the new guidance, and it will not impact on how effective the vaccination is in protecting you from COVID-J9 once the course is complete.
Please do not call the practice regarding this as the telephone lines are already very busy at this time of year. We will contact all affected patients to reschedule their second vaccine appointment.
It is important to note that regardless of when you receive your vaccine, you must continue to follow government guidance on social distancing and wearing a mask, as well as the additional measures in place in your area.
For more information, please visit the Coronavirus Vaccination page on the NHS website.