Vaccine invite by post – for Arnolds in Westward Ho!

Many of you have recently received an invitation to book a COVID vaccine by letter.

It appears that Arnolds pharmacist in Westward Ho! has been given several thousand doses of Oxford Vaccine which were switched away from going to our GP practices last Friday, with just a few hours notice. The letter is inviting you to book an appointment with them.

So right now we are trying to book patients into a few slots in the Barnstaple hub, when many of you have already taken the offer of a jab booking in Westward Ho!

All we can suggest is please take up any offer of a vaccine, and as soon as we have more Oxford Vaccine supply confirmed (and delivered!) we will let you know with updates on the website.

We will also keep offering pfizer vaccine slots in Barnstaple when we have them.

No vaccine in Hartland this week

We have no Oxford vaccine coming this week, but we will have Pfizer vaccine at Barnstaple Leisure Centre for upcoming Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Monday (over 4000 doses).

This should mean that more than half of our 75-79 group will be offered a jab in Barnstaple in the next few days, and we can hopefully finish this group by some time next week.

We will be in touch, using SMS to those with a mobile number, or by phone call.

UPDATE WEDNESDAY 27 Jan at 5pm:

Now fully booked places for above days, if you have not been called, we hope to have more Oxford Vaccine supply next week, and some more slots in Barnstaple for the pfizer jab.

Some people have received an NHS letter giving them a number to ring and book an appointment at Arnolds Pharmacy in Westward Ho!

We will be delighted for any of you to get protected as soon as possible, but we are also unhappy that Oxford Vaccine which was meant to come to North Devon for GP practices last Friday appears to have been diverted to this service, with less than 12 hours notice given last Thursday evening and causing huge amounts of rebooking appointments in Bideford and Torrington.

All set for this afternoon – moved to the surgery

We’ve had a difficult evening last night with a late change in vaccine supply, but now are all set for this afternoon and have received our planned amount to vaccinate our over 80s.

For next week we will need to wait until the Oxford vaccine is delivered to the Barnstaple hub before we can book a clinic for any patients in Hartland, ages 75-79. It may now be the following week before we can get this group done.

Other Torridge practices are needing to rebook some of their appointments this weekend, so we are very grateful that they have allowed us to honour all our Friday appointment’s and we will be helping in Barnstaple on Saturday to help catch up with vaccines which other practices were hoping to give on their own site. A great team effort by local GPs who are all working hard to get their patients vaccinated.

We have also switched to jabbing at our practice building as there was a procedural requirement to deliver vaccines on an NHS site. We will run a “one way” system using our new side entrance to make things as safe as possible for you all.

Friday clinic – Now in the afternoon

We have been advised of a 24 hour delay in vaccine delivery, now arriving in Barnstaple on Friday morning, to use for our over 80’s.

We are currently booking a friday afternoon clinic, but if there is a further delay it is possible we would have to delay until Saturday.

We will update our website here if the friday afternoon clinic is delayed by 24 hours, but fingers crossed we will go ahead on friday as planned.

Over 80’s COVID vaccine clinic in Hartland, Friday 22 Jan – Provisional

We are planning our first COVID vaccine clinic in Hartland next Friday morning 22 January 2021, at Hartland Village Hall.

We have been allocated 132 doses, which should be enough to vaccinate the remainder of the group aged 80+ for their first jab using the Oxford vaccine.

If you are aged 80+ we plan to phone you or send an SMS between Monday and Wednesday next week with an exact time,  Dont call us to book, we will try you again if needed.

Housebound patients will be done seperately, sorry no update for them just yet. We really hope we may then get supply to vaccinate all our age 75-79 for the following week, before the end of January, perhaps on Friday 29 January.

We expect an update on the vaccine supply next week (around 10 days ahead). This week we had to wait for numbers of care home staff before we knew how many would be “left over” to bring out to practices.

We will try to keep updating the practice site when we have a good idea of what is coming ahead.

COVID Vaccine in Hartland – Soon…

The latest communication today from NHS England will permit us to bring the Oxford vaccine out to GP practices, especially to help reduce travel for patients who are currently being invited in small numbers to Barnstaple leisure centre. All our staff are now vaccinated.

Once we have used our initial allocation in North Devon to vaccinate top priority Care Home residents and staff, we would therefore hope to be able to begin to vaccinate from Hartland Surgery before the end of January (lots of fingers crossed!)

Our current plan is to start a regular Thursday vaccination day, with as much vaccine as we are allowed! Our first group will be the over 80’s. We have nearly 200 of you!! (see our numbers below).

Please stay safe for just a few more weeks. We will contact you by SMS or email if possible, especially as the age groups get younger.

Here is a reminder of our priority lists from the government website. In brackets are our approximate numbers in each group.

  1. residents in a care home for older adults and their carers (0)
  2. all those 80 years of age and over (188) and frontline health and social care workers
  3. all those 75 years of age and over (154)
  4. all those 70 years of age (248) and over and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals (56)
  5. all those 65 years of age and over (229)
  6. all individuals aged 16 years to 64 years with underlying health conditions which put them at higher risk of serious disease and mortality (273)
  7. all those 60 years of age and over (152)
  8. all those 55 years of age and over (202)
  9. all those 50 years of age and over (143)

Therefore if we could get 200 vaccines supplied a week, we could get first doses to all these important groups within around 8 weeks or 400 doses per week then 4 weeks.

And you will all require a second jab 8-12 weeks later. We are going to be busy, but this is fantastic news!

Vaccines have begun at last!

I spent yesterday in Barnstaple at the vaccine hub at the leisure centre, by the River, close to the train station, Lidl and Tesco. There is a great team of volunteers and GP practice staff from across North Devon. Volunteers are in the car park to show you the way and help if needed with mobility.

We have been giving the first 975 doses of the Pfizer, and we have also used spare vaccine to get an extra dose out of each 5 dose vial, using these to vaccinate some frontline GP practice staff – nothing is being wasted!

The rules are changing quickly, and we are now expecting Oxford vaccine and more dose of the Pfizer vaccine next week. The plan is to move to a 12 weeks gap between first and second jabs of both types, which we fully support to get more people protected.

What about Hartland?

At the moment we have not had permission to bring vaccine doses out to GP practices, but common sense suggests this could happen within a few weeks when enough vaccine becomes available.

We would love to start a “flu clinic” delivery in the village hall. Currently there is 15 minutes observation period required due to the vaccines being “brand new”, which will slow things down a little.

In the meantime, we are inviting patients to visit Barnstaple for a jab, starting with our oldest patients, so far its been the over 90’s. Please answer any phone calls in the coming few weeks.

Are the vaccines safe?

YES, we really believe so (and our staff are being vaccinated as soon as allowed!), and if you are choosing between the vaccine or the virus, there is no contest.

There is either a safe vaccine or a risky virus. Please get protected as soon as possible

How long does the vaccine take to work?

We think the Pfizer vaccine is working within 2 weeks, while the Oxford vaccine may take 3-4 weeks. We will get more details in the coming days.

COVID Vaccine, not before Christmas

Just a quick update, unfortunately we will NOT be able to start doing Pfizer COVID vaccine until after Christmas, when we expect to begin small numbers from a shared hub in Barnstaple covering all of North Devon. We will contact you when we have vaccine available, starting with those aged over 80.

The complex cold chain requirements mean we have to work within a shared hub where the Pfizer vaccine packs can be thawed (1000 doses at a time) and must then be given within 3 days.

We hope and expect in the new year the pace of vaccination will rapidly accelerate, especially if the easier to store Oxford vaccine is approved which may  be available for us to give from our practices.

Another COVID case

An update from Dr Sam Tapsell:

Following a fever on Monday night, I had a swab on Tuesday morning which today came back positive for COVID. I will therefore be working from home returning on Thu 3 December (10 days isolation). I’m hopeful that I’m having a mild case, as my temperature seems to be better today, with just a sore throat and slight cough along with feeling tired.

Dr Ruth Tapsell had a negative swab taken at the same time, but will need to isolate for 2 weeks and will therefore be working from home, returning on Tuesday 8 December 2020.

Dr Mike Trowbridge is therefore “holding the fort”, but as the only doctor at the surgery he is working flat out, and your patience will be appreciated.

We dont think this case has come from contact within Hartland surgery, but obviously we will be on our guard in the coming days.

With a vaccine hopefully starting within a matter of weeks, please take utmost care to protect those most at risk. And especially if you have diabetes or are overweight, try to cut your sugar and starch intake. This seems like the best way to protect yourself from getting a more serious illness if you do catch it and giving you confidence to get back to normal life in the springtime and beyond.

Returning to normal

Following our staff COVID outbreak, we are pleased to report no further cases or symptoms within our staff during the last 10 days. Affected staff are making a good recovery. We are therefore cautiously returning to a “normal” service during this week.

There are rising COVID cases both locally and nationally so we are still trying to avoid face to face contact where this is safe to do so. We will continue with “collection times” at 12-1 and 5-6pm for prescriptions.

We will also have some members of the team working remotely from home and some other measures to make our workplace as safe as we can for our staff.

We are grateful for support we’ve had from other practices, for example some patients attended Bideford Medical Centre for urgent blood testing last week.

Thank you all for your patience while we catch up and please keep looking out for each other during this winter.