Author Archives: Siobhan Jones

COVID-19 Vaccine – Frequently Asked Questions

How is the COVID-19 vaccination being delivered in Kirklees?

The NHS has well-established routes for delivering vaccinations.  Our planning for the COVID-19 vaccination programme has built on these.  The NHS will be delivering the vaccine in three main ways:

  • Hospital hubs
  • Local vaccination services – provided by groups of GPs or pharmacies
  • Large-scale vaccination centres – large sites, set up for high volumes of people.

In Kirklees, we have a vaccination hub at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary as well as GP-led centres in:

  • Batley
  • Dewsbury town centre
  • Holme Valley
  • Huddersfield town centre
  • Kirkburton

In addition, we have started to roll out the COVID-19 vaccination to care home residents and staff, and to patient-facing NHS staff in Kirklees.

As more supplies of the vaccine become available, we will be able to offer vaccinations to more people and at other locations including a large-scale vaccination centre at the John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield, community pharmacies and in people’s homes, if they can’t come to us.

How will patients be invited for a vaccination?

The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is decided nationally and based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

As more supplies of vaccine become available we will be able to offer a greater number of vaccinations.

When it’s the right time, people will receive an invitation to come forward. You will be invited to have the vaccination by letter, text or phone call from your GP practice or NHS.

We know people are eager to get protected but please do not contact your GP practice or NHS, we will contact you.

Before you can be offered the vaccine, you will  need to be registered with a GP surgery in England. You can register with a GP if you do not have one. You do not need an NHS number to do this, by registering one will be generated for you if you do not already have one.

Why have I been invited to attend a vaccination centre outside Kirklees? 

The NHS has opened a number of large-scale vaccination centres including one at the Etihad Tennis Club in Manchester. Invitations to book an appointment are being sent to people aged 80 or over who have not yet been vaccinated and live up to 45 minutes drive from a centre.  This may include people who live in Kirklees.

If you do not want to/are unable to travel, you will be able to access a vaccination closer to home when they become available.

Four large-scale vaccination centres are planned for West Yorkshire, including one at The John Smith’s Stadium in Huddersfield.  Vaccinations are also being delivered by groups of GP practices and will be available at a number of community pharmacies in Kirklees soon.

My neighbour has had the vaccine but I have not been contacted

GP practices are working through their patient lists and offering appointments as soon as vaccine is available, in accordance with national guidance on priority groups.

We know people are eager to get protected but GP practices are very busy so please do not contact them about the vaccine.   You will receive an invitation to come forward when it is your turn.

Why do I have to wait for my vaccination?

The national COVID-19 vaccination programme is still at an early stage.

NHS is offering vaccinations to those at greatest risk from COVID-19 first, in line with recommendations from the Joint Committee for Vaccinations & Immunisations (JCVI).

The first groups being offered vaccinations are care home residents and workers, frontline health and social care staff and people aged 80 and over.

As more vaccine becomes available, we will be able to offer appointments to a wider group of people.  For more information , please refer to our publication ‘COVID-19 Vaccination: Why do I have to wait’ available  here

I work for the NHS / in social care, when will I receive the vaccination?

Vaccination of patient-facing health and social care workers will be co-ordinated through your employer.   You will receive an invitation to attend for your vaccine as soon as possible and in line with national guidance on priority groups.

Who can get the COVID-19 vaccine?

The NHS is currently offering the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.  It’s being given to:

  • people aged 80 and over
  • people who live or work in care homes
  • health and social care workers at high risk

You will also need to be registered with a GP surgery in England. You can register with a GP if you do not have one.

The vaccine will be offered more widely, and at other locations, as soon as possible.

The order in which people will be offered the vaccine is based on advice from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Read the latest JCVI advice on priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccination on GOV.UK

Read the latest JCVI advice on priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccination on GOV.UK.

Is the COVID-19 vaccine safe?  

The vaccines approved for use in the UK have met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Any coronavirus vaccine that is approved must go through all the clinical trials and safety checks all other licensed medicines go through. The MHRA follows international standards of safety.

Other vaccines are being developed. They will only be available on the NHS once they have been thoroughly tested to make sure they are safe and effective.

So far, thousands of people have been given a COVID-19 vaccine and reports of serious side effects, such as allergic reactions, have been very rare. No long-term complications have been reported.

To find out more about the vaccines approved in the UK, see:

 

COVID-19 vaccine ingredients

The approved COVID-19 vaccines do not contain any animal products or egg.

Can people pick what vaccine they want? 

No. Any vaccines that the NHS will provide will have been approved because they pass the MHRA’s tests on safety and efficacy, so people should be assured that whatever vaccine they get, it is worth their while.

Can I have the vaccine if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

There’s no evidence the COVID-19 vaccine is unsafe if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. But more evidence is needed before you can be routinely offered the vaccine.

The JCVI has updated its advice to recommend you may be able to have the vaccine if you’re:

  • pregnant and at high risk of serious complications of coronavirus
  • if you’re breastfeeding

Speak to a healthcare professional before you have the vaccination. They will discuss the benefits and risks of the COVID-19 vaccine with you.

You do not need to avoid pregnancy after vaccination. The vaccine cannot give you or your baby COVID-19.

Read the latest COVID-19 vaccine advice if you’re pregnant, may get pregnant or are breastfeeding on GOV.UK

Should people who have had COVID-19 be vaccinated?

Yes, they should get vaccinated.

Will the COVID-19 vaccine protect me from flu?

No, the COVID-19 vaccine will not protect you against the flu.

How is the COVID-19 vaccine given?

The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into your upper arm.

It’s given as 2 doses.

The latest evidence suggests the 1st dose of the COVID-19 vaccine provides protection for most people for up to 3 months.

As a result of this evidence, when you can have the 2nd dose has changed. This is also to make sure as many people can have the vaccine as possible.

The 2nd dose was previously 21 days after having the 1st dose, but has now changed to 12 weeks after.

Why are second doses being postponed?

The UK Chief Medical Officers have agreed a longer timeframe between first and second doses so that more people can get their first dose quickly, and because the evidence shows that one dose still offers a high level of protection. This decision will allow us to get the maximum benefit for the most people in the shortest possible time and will help save lives. Getting both doses remains important so we would urge people to return for their second vaccination at the right time.

Are there any people who shouldn’t have the vaccine?

People with history of a severe allergy to the ingredients of the vaccines should not be vaccinated. The MHRA has updated its guidance to say that pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding can have the vaccine but should discuss it with a clinician to ensure that the benefits outweigh any potential risks. Similarly, advice for women planning a pregnancy has also been updated and there is no need for women to delay pregnancy after having the vaccination.

I’m currently ill with COVID-19, can I get the vaccine?

People currently unwell and experiencing COVID-19 symptoms should not receive the COVID-19 vaccine until they have recovered. The guidance says this should be at least four weeks after the start of symptoms or from the date of a positive Covid-19 test.

I have been told to pay for a vaccine 

The vaccine is only available on the NHS for free to people in priority groups, and the NHS will contact you when it is your turn. Anyone offering a paid-for vaccine is committing a crime.

The NHS will never ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text to confirm you want the vaccine, and never ask for payment or for your bank details.

At the moment we are also not making house calls to deliver or discuss the vaccine. Anyone offering this now is committing a crime.

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. Where the victim is vulnerable, and particularly if you are worried that someone has or might come to your house, report it to the Police online or by calling 101.

Can I get a vaccine privately?

No. Vaccinations will only be available through the NHS for the moment. Anyone who claims to be able to provide you with a vaccine for a fee is likely to be committing a crime and should be reported to the Police online or by calling 112.

Will the vaccines work with the new strain?

There is no evidence currently that the new strain will be resistant to the vaccines we have, so we are continuing to vaccinate people as normal. Scientists are looking now in detail at the characteristics of the virus in relation to the vaccines. Viruses, such as the winter flu virus, often branch into different strains but these small variations rarely render vaccines ineffective.

Do the vaccines include any parts from foetal or animal origin?

There is no material of foetal or animal origin in either vaccine currently in use in Kirklees. All ingredients are published in the healthcare information on the MHRA’s website.

For the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-pfizer-biontechvaccine-for-covid-19

For the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-approval-of-covid-19-vaccineastrazeneca

The British Islamic Medical Association has produced a helpful guide for the Muslim community which can be found at https://britishima.org/pfizer-biontech-covid19-vaccine/

Can the vaccine alter your genetic material?

There is no evidence to suggest that individual genetic material will undergo an alteration after receiving the vaccine.

The British Islamic Medical Association (IBMA) position statement on the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine

After consulting Muslim health care professionals, Islamic scholars and Muslim umbrella bodies from across the UK, the IBMA has issued a position statement on the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine stating that they recommend the vaccine to ‘all eligible at-risk individuals in Muslim communities’.

Read about the Council For Mosques Position on COVID-19 Vaccines

Where can I find more information?

The most up to date information on the COVID-19 vaccine can be found on the NHS website.

The BBC has produced some information about coronavirus vaccines in five South Asian languages.

 

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Updated statement: COVID-19 vaccination appointments in North Kirklees

The COVID-19 vaccine has started to be offered to people aged 80 and over in Kirklees by groups of GP practices working together from dedicated vaccination centres. As in the rest of the country, this is being done in a phased way.

We had originally planned to offer vaccinations from drive-through centres in Liversedge and Dewsbury. Unfortunately, changes in national guidance meant that we were no longer able to use this approach and had to postpone some appointments that had been made for patients in these areas.

Our 27 North Kirklees GP practices have been working together with the CCG to put in place alternative arrangements.  Some of the affected patients have now received their vaccination and the remainder will be contacted by their GP practice to confirm the new arrangements as soon as possible.

Vaccinations will be delivered at the existing centre in Batley and at a newly approved site in Dewsbury town centre (Wellington Road).  Patients should advise their GP practice if they require additional support in accessing either of these centres.

The drive-through centre planned for Liversedge will not be used for this current vaccination phase.

We understand that the delay in re-scheduling appointments has been disappointing for patients and are pleased that we have now resolved the matter.

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First Kirklees patients receive COVID-19 vaccine today

The first patients in Kirklees are to receive a vaccine which protects against COVID-19 today.

Local people are receiving the vaccination at hubs organised by groups of GP practices working together.  The first hubs have opened in Huddersfield and Batley, with further sites planned as the immunisation programme continues across Kirklees.

The vaccine is initially being offered to people aged 80 and over, who are most at risk from coronavirus.  It will be offered to more people and at other locations as soon as possible.

The order in which people are offered the vaccine is based on advice from the national Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI).

Local GPs are reminding people that the NHS will let you know when it’s your turn, so please don’t get in contact before then.

Dr Steve Ollerton, Chair of NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG said, “This is fantastic news. It’s wonderful to see so many patients receive their vaccine today. ”

Dr Khalid Naeem, Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG said, “Thank you to the staff at all our local practices who have worked together to get the hubs ready for our patients today and over the coming weeks.  It’s been hard work but definitely worth it.”

 Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said, “This is fantastic news for everyone in Kirklees. The moment we’ve been waiting for. It’s an emotional time. Finally, there’s light at the end of the tunnel after so many dark months. It’s a time for happiness but also a moment for reflection, to think about the people we’ve lost and the sacrifices so many in our community have made.

“The roll out of the vaccine will be an immense challenge for the NHS and the council will support them in every way we can. In the meantime, it’s more important than ever that we all play our part in protecting each other. We need to keep following all the public health advice to protect as many lives as possible. We’ve come so far and an end is in sight. Let’s keep going and keep supporting each other to stay safe.”

The COVID-19 vaccine is given as an injection into the upper arm. It’s given as 2 doses, at least 21 days apart.

The vaccine approved for use in the UK was developed by Pfizer/BioNTech.  It has met strict standards of safety, quality and effectiveness set out by the independent Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

More details about the vaccine and how it is being delivered can be found on the nhs.uk website.

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Important information about the COVID-19 vaccine

The NHS has started to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to people most at risk from coronavirus.  The vaccine is currently being offered in a few hospital ‘hubs’ but it will be available more widely and at other locations soon.

We know lots of people will be eager to get protected but you will be invited for a vaccine when it’s your turn so you don’t need to contact your GP practice or the NHS.  The vaccine is being offered in line with guidance from the Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunisations.

 

 

 

 

 

This will be the largest vaccination programme in the history of the NHS and you can really help us to deliver it to those that need it most by doing the following:

  • Don’t contact the NHS to seek a vaccine – we will contact you when it’s the right time.
  • When we do contact you, act immediately and make sure you attend your appointments.
  • Continue to follow all the guidelines – hand hygiene and social distancing in particular – to control the virus and save lives.

Please keep washing your hands regularly, wear a face covering in enclosed spaces and maintain social distancing wherever possible to protect yourself and your family from the coronavirus.

For more information about the vaccine, please visit www.nhs.uk/CovidVaccine

 

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Kirklees CCGs seek public views

NHS Greater Huddersfield and NHS North Kirklees CCGs have today launched an eight week long public engagement to inform and support the formation of a single CCG for Kirklees.

The CCGs have received conditional approval from NHS England to become a single, merged organisation on 1 April 2021.

The two organisations have been working closely together for some years and share a Chief Officer and senior management team.  Most staff work across both CCGs and last December moved into shared headquarters in Huddersfield.  The CCGs have a single commissioning strategy and hold Governing Body and most committee meetings in the same place, at the same time.

Chief Officer Carol McKenna said, “Becoming one CCG is the next logical step for us and the best way to support the needs of our population into the future.    A new commissioning organisation won’t simply be a bigger version of what we have now. This is an opportunity for local people, patients and other stakeholders to have their say.”

Members of the public can get involved by completing a short survey.  The CCGs are also holding two stakeholder events.   More details about the merger and how to have your say are on the North Kirklees and Greater Huddersfield CCG websites.

The creation of a single CCG for Kirklees will not result in any change to local health services or impact directly on patients, their families or carers.

NHS England and NHS Improvement have recently invited views about potential future changes to CCGs.

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Local GPs urge people to get their flu jab

GPs in Kirklees are encouraging local people to get their free NHS flu vaccine to help protect them from flu and its potentially serious complications.

The vaccine is provided free of charge to those who are at risk. This year it’s being offered to a much wider range of people than ever before, so you may be offered a jab for the first time. Those eligible for a free flu jab include:

  • adults aged 65 and over
  • people with certain medical conditions
  • pregnant women
  • people living with someone who’s at high risk from coronavirus
  • children aged 2 and 3 on 31 August 2020
  • children in primary school
  • children in year 7
  • frontline health or social care workers

If you’re the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk, receive a carer’s allowance, or live with someone on the NHS shielded patient list, you may also be eligible for a free jab.

Dr Khalid Naeem, GP and Chair of North Kirklees CCG Governing Body said, “Flu is an unpredictable virus that kills an average of 11,000 people and causes thousands of hospitalisations every year.  This is anything but a typical year and we all want to protect ourselves and those close to us – as well as helping to take the pressure off NHS and social care services.”

Dr Steve Ollerton, GP and Chair of Greater Huddersfield CCG said, “The flu jab protects those most at risk. It’s the best protection we have against this nasty and at times fatal virus.  While flu causes mild illness in most people, some are more likely to develop potentially serious complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia. The flu vaccine helps protect family, friends and people you care for who may be vulnerable.”

Rachel Spencer-Henshall, Director of Public Health for Kirklees Council said, “The flu vaccination programme is always important. This year it’s more important than ever and we are actively encouraging people to have their flu jab.

“The programme is being expanded  to help protect people from flu and ease pressure on the NHS and urgent care services, and I would ask that if you are invited for vaccination you take the offer.

“With COVID still circulating, and the increased risk to life if you are ill with both viruses simultaneously, it’s vital to get the free jab as soon as you can. “

GP practices have put in place a range of measures to keep people safe when they receive their vaccination.  This includes social distancing, the use of protective clothing (PPE), time specific appointments and drive-through options.  Wherever you get your jab, you will be expected to wear a face covering and sanitise your hands thoroughly.

If you think you’re eligible for a flu jab, contact your GP practice to arrange an appointment.  You can also have your jab at a local pharmacy free of charge if you’re in one of the at risk groups.

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Health project wins prestigious HSJ value award

A collaborative project designed to improve heart health across West Yorkshire and Harrogate has been awarded the ‘Cardiovascular Care Initiative of the Year’ at the HSJ Value Awards 2020.

Healthy Hearts, brings together health and care professionals, including GPs and community pharmacists, with NHS organisations and community groups to improve care for people with cardiovascular disease (CVD).  The project is led by the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership and delivered by Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network.

The initiative received the prestigious award in recognition for the outstanding contribution made to delivering better services and driving better outcomes over the past 12 months.

Rob Webster, CEO Lead for West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership said: ‘We are absolutely delighted to be named as a winner. Through this initiative, more than 17,500 additional people have had their blood pressure controlled to a tighter target (less than 140/90).

‘In addition, over 2,000 people have been identified at risk of cardiovascular disease and been offered a statin. This alone means that nearly 500 people could avoid a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years across our area. This is a great, life-saving example of what can be achieved when partners come together’.

 

Dr Steve Ollerton, Huddersfield GP and clinical champion of the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts initiative, said: ‘This award is testament to the hard work of our partners to help reduce cardiovascular disease across our region. We have known for some time this was a high priority for our patients. We have demonstrated that by working at scale using simplified processes you can have an impact on both our patients’ outcomes and help our clinicians to work more efficiently.’

 For more information about the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts, visit www.westyorkshireandharrogatehealthyhearts.co.uk

 

 

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COVID-19: NHS films highlight how to keep safe

Local GPs, nurses and NHS managers feature in a series of  new films highlighting the simple steps everyone can take to keep themselves and their community safe.

The films, recorded in English, Punjabi and Gujarati, are currently being shared on social media.  They are part of a wider effort being taken by Kirklees Council, the NHS and partner organisations across Kirklees to help bring down the rates of COVID-19 locally.

The films explain that the virus is still circulating in Kirklees and provide advice on how we can all work together to stop the spread.   This includes regular hand washing, social distancing, and wearing face coverings when this is required – such as in shops and on public transport, and when it’s hard to stay away from other people.

They also describe the main symptoms of the virus and encourage people who think they may have COVID-19 to get a test as soon as possible and stay at home until they get the results.

If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, book a test by calling the free NHS phone line 119 or visit the NHS website.

The main symptoms of COVID-19 are:

  • a high temperature– this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough– this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste– this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.

 

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Share your experiences of maternity services during the pandemic

The way that some maternity services are delivered has changed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We’re working with Kirklees council and our local Maternity Voices Partnership to understand the impact of these changes on new mums, pregnant women and families.

We would like to hear from you if you have used maternity services during the pandemic, even if your contact was limited or has now finished. You can share your views with us in this survey: https://bit.ly/maternsurv

Your feedback will help us to understand how we can improve experiences for women and their families.

The survey is confidential and does not ask you to share your name or any personal details. It should take about 10 minutes to complete, depending on how much you want to say.

If you want more information or would like help to complete the survey, please get in touch with us at NKGHEngagement@northkirkleesccg.nhs.uk

Share your experiences of maternity services during the pandemic

The survey closes on Friday 28 August.

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First patients treated at Pontefract Hospital cancer centre

The first people requiring inpatient surgery for cancer have been treated at a centre which has been created at Pontefract Hospital to enable people to receive care during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Cancer Alliance has been working with hospital trusts across the region to develop arrangements for people who are referred for tests for suspected cancer, or whose condition could deteriorate if treatment was delayed, to be seen at a hospital where the risk of exposure to the COVID-19 virus is kept to the absolute minimum.

A restricted access zone within Pontefract hospital came into operation on 8 June will mainly provide a service for the 550,000 citizens of Wakefield district and North Kirklees.

Careful zoning of the site has enabled the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Pontefract Hospital, to successfully create a centre which is exclusively for patients who have has a negative test for COVID-19 following a period of self-isolation.

The cancer centre has separate entry and exit routes and access to and from other parts of the hospital have been closed off to anyone except patients attending for cancer tests or treatment, who have been confirmed as being COVID-free, and staff working in the cancer service. All corridors, waiting areas, clinic rooms, operating theatres and wards will only be accessible to patients who have tested negative for COVID.

To keep the risk of staff or patients being exposed to COVID-19 to an absolute minimum, all patients attending the cancer centre for appointments or surgery and anyone who lives with them is required to self-isolate for 14 days and be tested in line with clinical guidance.

Patients and people who live with them will also need to self-isolate for 14 days after surgery to keep them safe from exposure to COVID infection while they are recovering.

Many hospital outpatient services are already being provided remotely to prevent the spread of infection. The zoning arrangements mean that other outpatient services, antenatal and postnatal care and the Urgent Treatment Centre at Pontefract are all still being offered at Pontefract Hospital, with access to them via alternative entrances.

The medical ward has been closed to make way for the cancer service and stroke rehabilitation, which had moved temporarily to Pontefract from Dewsbury as part of the COVID response, is now being provided at Pinderfields and Dewsbury hospitals.

Day case surgery for people who had completed a 14 day period of isolation and had a negative COVID test began on 8 June and the first patents requiring inpatient surgery for breast, urology, gynaecological and colorectal cancers have been booked at Pontefract Hospital from 22 June.

Martin Barkley, Chief Executive of the Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The team have worked extremely hard to put in place this dedicated service so quickly. We know that many people have avoided seeking help from their doctor because of the fear of being exposed to the coronavirus and this meant we had far less patients referred to us with suspected cancers in April and May.

“We understand the requirement to self-isolate before surgery is a huge commitment for patients and their families to make at a very stressful time but it is vitally important that people needing tests or treatment for cancer can have confidence that they are coming into a safe environment.”

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