COVID vaccine / booster pop up clinic in Hartland

If you have not been able to visit a walk-in vaccine in Barnstaple or through the national booking site, there will be a “pop up” vaccine service visiting Hartland on Tuesday 11th January 11am to 5pm at the Parish Hall.

  • Open to all people aged over 16
  • No appointment required

To check you are eligible, or for more information about the vaccine, see the NHS site here.

COVID Boosters – none at Hartland.

We are understandably getting lots of people asking to have their COVID booster vaccine at Hartland Surgery.

We are not delivering these locally, so you will need to book through the national booking system online or by calling 119. We dont have an alternative way to book the booster vaccine.

Why are we not doing more COVID Vaccines at Hartland?

Unlike flu vaccines, which each GP practice has been undertaking for many years, when a new COVID vaccine program was started in Dec 2020, the government and NHS England decided that due to the complexity of vaccine storage and supply, they would only deliver vaccine “at scale” to networks of practices.

To accomodate this GP practices in North Devon were together able to hire and staff the leisure centre in Barnstaple for the frozen Pfizer vaccine, and we also expected and planned that the refridgerated Oxford Vaccine could be collected from our Barnstaple hub and then delivered from our practices, like the flu vaccine.

But when the Oxford Vaccine was made available, it was diverted locally by NHS England to the pharmacy at Westward Ho! and away from GP practices, causing chaos and cancellations of many hundreds of vaccine appointments especially for the Bideford GP practices. We were only given smaller amounts of “left over” to catch up with people who hadn’t arranged vaccine through the national system, along with the Pfizer vaccine which we delivered from the hub.

This duplication and delay of delivery meant all our GP practices were frustrated in our efforts, with our patients wondering why we were always behind with delivering the vaccine, and why we only contacted them AFTER they had booked or travelled to vaccine hubs in Wadebridge or further.

Given that we were second choice for delivery of vaccines, our Torridge Network of GP pracfices “opted out” as the first doses of vaccine delivery moved below the aged 50 group, who were much more able to travel for vaccine, or wait a little longer for local delivery. We would instead focus on getting our normal GP services back on track, after all the complexity of the previous year, which I hope we have achieved.

When the booster program was announced, the Torridge network again decided not to take part, since the hospital was now running the leisure centre, and there was ongoing provision at Westward Ho! and Wadebridge.

Given the recent upscaling and urgency for the COVID booster program, we are also frustrated at the lack of vaccine capacity and we are still looking at any ways we could try and help, but up to now there has been no flexibility in what we could deliver and for which patients. Therefore we are sorry not to be able to help further.

Second Dose Dates (AMENDED)

We are planning our vaccine dates for second doses of Oxford Vaccine at Hartland Surgery.

We amended dates on Tue 18 May 2021, after change of guidance and vaccine supply to enable 8 weeks interval between doses.

First Dose at HartlandSecond Dose at Hartland
(Amended)
Wed 3rd Feb
Thu 12 Feb
Wed 28 Apr
Wed 17 FebFri 7 May
Thu 25 Feb
Fri 5 Mar
Wed 10 Mar
Fri 19 Mar *
Fri 21 May
Wed 31 Mar *
Thu 1 Apr *
Wed 2 Jun

* second dose date brought forwards to around 8 weeks

Vaccines open to over 45’s – book through national system

If you are aged 45 or above, you are now eligible for a vaccine, booked through the national booking website. You will be offered a choice of vaccine venues.

We will not be doing more “first doses” at Hartland Surgery. We will still be doing second doses up until the end of June for those who had the first dose at the surgery.

We still encourage everyone to get a vaccine, to get protected for themselves, and to prevent circulation of the virus in our community.

We currently have 1648 (59%) of our patients vaccinated (first dose) including 272 (10%) who are fully vaccinated (both doses).

Oxford Vaccine, Second doses and Blood Clots

We are now looking out for blood clots after the Oxford Vaccine (Astra-Zeneca), around 4 in every millions doses. There is more information in a government leaflet here

We are told these dont develop until after 4 days from the vaccine date (which is after the common 2-3 days of “flu-like” symptoms, which can include headache, temperature and feeling unwell).

There are no reports of clots after a second dose, so we have no concerns recommending the second vaccine dose, even where you felt unwell for 2-3 days afterwards, or are in the younger group of people.

What should I look out for after vaccination?

Although serious side effects are very rare, if you experience any of the following from around 4 days to 4 weeks after vaccination you should
seek medical advice urgently.

  • a new, severe headache which is not helped by usual painkillers or is getting worse
  • a headache which seems worse when lying down or bending over or
  • an unusual headache that may be accompanied by:
    • blurred vision, nausea and vomiting
    • diffculty with your speech
    • weakness, drowsiness or seizures
    • new, unexplained pinprick bruising or bleeding
    • shortness of breath, chest pain, leg swelling or persistent abdominal pain

Mop Up Clinic This Wednesday (groups 1-9)

We have vaccine available, and a few of our patients are eligible but still not had their first dose. Overal 1534 (56%) of our patients have had a first dose of vaccine so far. This is actually 71% of those eligible, since a vaccine is currently recommended for those aged over 18.

We are therefore getting in touch with those not yet done to offer a catch up vaccine for Wednesday, please get in touch if you are waiting from groups 1-9 (Aged over 50, vulnerable, carers).

For those under 50, there is expected to be a delay through April while vaccine priority is on the second doses within 12 weeks to get maximum protection for those most at risk.

Regarding numbers, we have the following cohort sizes still needing vaccine, a total of 635

  • Aged 40-49 – 205
  • Age 30-39 – 190
  • Age 18-29 – 240

Should I get the COVID Vaccine?

As we move to younger groups of patients, we are getting more questions regarding whether it would be a good idea to be vaccinated?

YES! 100% yes! Every member of our staff has been vaccinated.

  • COVID is very contagious – you will almost all get exposed in the next year or two.
  • Fatigue and breathlessness is common after COVID, even in previously fit and active people, its not just the risk of death.
  • There is very good safety data on the vaccines to show that any risks are much lower compared with the placebo group. “Real world” data in the UK has shown a dramatic fall in the overall death rate starting a few weeks after the vaccine.
  • After a vaccine you are unlikely to be unwell from COVID, almost certain to not need hospital treatment for COVID, much lower risk of spreading infection.
  • You will be protecting our community, making our area a safer place to live for everyone. Especially for those who dont have a strong immune system.

What about pregnant women or children? We are waiting to confirm that vaccination is safe, but we will vaccinate our children if this is recommended by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). They are the best in their field, whose expert advice we trust.

Groups 1-9 first doses all done or booked.

We had 190 doses of Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine today, but as an unexpected bonus each 5mls vial contained 6mls of vaccine (12 doses not 10), meaning we actually had an extra 38 doses. We were warned these were definitely not going to be over-filled. We have therefore been making some last minute calls today to use all the vaccine and make sure none is wasted.

Almost every person aged 50+ or in an at risk group has now been offered a vaccine from the surgery, nearly 4 weeks ahead of schedule! What a great success.

We are told the next priority for vaccine will now be for completing the second doses before 12 weeks, and this is all fully on course. We will still be sending updates with just a short notice, when the supply of vaccine is confirmed.

This means there may be some weeks before those under 50 start getting invited, by the national booking system.

A big thank you for all your ongoing support (and patience as you await your turn).

Around 200 doses this Friday – nearly all over 50s may be invited.

We are sending out SMS invites for this Friday morning, working our way down the list based on age.

We dont yet know how many people have already booked an appointment through the central booking system (Westward Ho or Wadebridge) so when we invite you by SMS,  please reply to the message if possible. Hopefully this is enough to reach all those aged 50 and above, as we expect a lot of the groups aged over 57 already have booked appointments.

For information, our group sizes and numbers vaccinated are as follows

  • Age 60-64 158 (86 done, 72 remaining)
  • Age 55-59 208 (28 done, 180 remaining)
  • Age 50-54 150 (12 done, 138 remaining)

We are also advised of another 100 doses expected for next week, so we can be really confident of finishing all the first 9 “at risk” groups next week.

Updates on upcoming vaccine – speeding up!

We have requests asking when we may be able to offer vaccine to patients in their 50’s: we hope within the next 2 weeks as we have been promised a boost in vaccine supply after a “dry” couple of weeks.

This week we are not allowed to go beyong group 5 (aged 65-70) and group 6 (at risk). We are finshing all these groups Wednesday 10 March.

Next week we understand we will be able to use all available vaccine to start to “mop up” groups 7, 8 and 9. (ages 50-65). We will plan to move down ages, sending SMS invites to those aged 64, then 63, then 62 etc. As people confirm or decline a vaccine, we will re-use the slot until all our vaccine allowance is used, or we have completed all the groups.

We expect some people will have booked a vaccine elsewhere, but we hope anyone aged over 50 is likely to get a vaccine offer at Hartland within the next 2 weeks. But we cannot be 100% sure until the vaccine is waiting for collection from Barnstaple, we’ve been left waiting before.

We plan to invite by SMS message to your mobile as follows:

You are invited to have a COVID vaccine at Hartland surgery on <date> at <time>.

To confirm please reply YES.

If you want a call to discuss reply DISCUSS, if you have other arrangements reply OTHER, if you don’t want a vaccine reply NO. You can include more information if you choose, but a short message may be more helpful us.

If you dont respond within 2 hours, we will try to call you later

We hope this will allow us to organise larger numbers of vaccine in a quick and efficient manner.