Covid-19 FAQs

Last updated on the 20th January 2021

In order to keep everyone as well informed as possible, we are publishing a list of FAQs about the Covid-19 vaccine. The social media team are looking through each of your Facebook comments on our posts and these questions will be addressed in the FAQs post that will be updated weekly.

The post will also be updated when more information becomes available to us.

How are the vaccinations being organised?

The vaccinations are currently being administered at a local vaccination centre which has been set up as a partnership between 9 GP practices in Aylesbury Vale.

Where will the vaccination centre be based?

The vaccination will be administered at the indoor bowls arena in Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Guttmann Road, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire HP21 9PP. There will be a team of marshals to help direct you when you arrive.

There is a video outlining what to expect which you can view by visiting www.youtube.com.

Which 9 GP practices are working together?

These are the surgeries that are working together:

  • Berryfields
  • Edlesborough
  • Haddenham
  • Mandeville
  • Meadowcroft
  • Oakfield
  • Poplar Grove
  • Westongrove
  • Whitehill

Do you have plans to vaccinate people more locally?

We would very much like to have measures in place to administer the vaccine locally, once supplies of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine are available, more like our flu vaccination clinics. At present, it is not clear whether we will be able to do this as part of a coordinated NHS vaccination programme locally but we are making the case that it would be great for patients if we could.

When will patients start being vaccinated?

Vaccinations have already begun for our care home residents. On Tuesday 19th January patient vaccinations at the vaccination centre will begin.

How many vaccines will I need?

You will require 2 vaccinations for long term immunity. The second will be approximately 11 weeks after your initial dose. You will be contacted for the second vaccine in the same way you were contacted for your first vaccination.

How will my appointment be booked?

You will be contacted as soon as your priority group is ready to get vaccinated. Most patients will receive a SMS text that will have a direct link to book your first appointment, but please don’t worry if you do not have a mobile – you will be contacted by phone as many times as it takes to reach you.

We will have to invite people quite close to the vaccination date to minimise the risk of having to reschedule hundreds of appointments should the vaccine delivery be delayed.

As a practice and as a community, we want everyone to receive the vaccine. Please do not worry, if you do not pick up the first time, we will try again and again until we are able to make contact with you.

No one will miss out on an invitation to book an appointment for the vaccine.

Can a patient’s medical record be updated with a relative’s mobile number to help with the booking of their vaccination?

This is possible subject to confidentiality safeguards. As a practice we cannot change any patient’s contact details in this way until we have written consent from them. This consent needs to include a statement as to whether the number is just for booking Covid-19 vaccinations or for any communication purpose.

We will also need the details of the person whose mobile number is being used with respect to name and relationship to the patient. Please make sure that you have their written consent and provide all these details when emailing us with the requested change.

We can only change them once we have received their consent.

Please be assured that a mobile number is not necessary to guarantee a vaccination, everyone will be contacted regardless.

Should I call the surgery to book my appointment?

Please wait to be contacted to leave the phones free for urgent calls. Everyone is on our list and we have double-checked it! We will let you know as soon as it is your turn to be vaccinated.

Is there a standby list for the Covid-19 vaccinations in case people don’t turn up for their vaccines?

Yes there is; we will not be wasting one single dose of this precious vaccine. We have created a stand-by list from members of our own staff, care home staff, other active frontline healthcare workers and patients in eligible priority groups who have not been vaccinated. This provides an ample supply of people from the priority groups being vaccinated who can attend at short notice. Should the need arise, they will be contacted and asked to attend within a given timescale. We will work our way down the list until all vaccinations have been allocated. If people are not able to attend they will remain on the list until they are vaccinated either by a normal or stand-by invitation.

When will unpaid carers be invited for vaccination?

We have been receiving a lot of phone calls about this issue, so these are the steps you have to take. To qualify as an unpaid carer you must be in receipt of carer’s allowance. If you meet this criteria you can be invited when priority group 6 are invited for vaccination. If you qualify for a higher priority group for other reasons this will still apply, and you will be invited accordingly.

If you have not already told us that you are an unpaid carer, please email us with proof of the fact that you are in receipt of carer’s allowance at westongrove.flu@nhs.net.

This is the same process that we use for inviting carers for flu immunisations. We will add this information to your medical record and invite you when your time comes.

What if I work in Frontline Healthcare in another capacity?

We are encouraging any patients who are actively working in frontline care, to let us know. This might be as a dentist, physio, pharmacist, mental health worker, to name but a few. Please let us know your job role, and employer by emailing westongrove.flu@nhs.net so that we can code your patient record and invite you for a vaccine as soon as possible.

How do I get to the vaccination centre?

If you do not have your own transport, we hope that you will be able to access transport as you normally would do for medical appointments through friends, family, public transport, or the local community transport systems that are up and running.

We are awaiting further information from a local coach company called Masons, who may be able to offer your transport to and from the vaccination centre. More information about this will be posted next week.

How do I travel safely in the car with someone who is not in my household to receive a vaccine?

Under current restrictions travel for medical appointments is permitted and everyone invited is encouraged to take up the offer of vaccination. There will be plenty of car parking spaces for your driver to wait for you whilst you receive the vaccine.

Where it is essential to car share, you can reduce the risk of transmission by:

  • sharing the transport with the same people each time
  • minimising the group size at any one time
  • opening windows for ventilation
  • travelling side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
  • facing away from each other
  • considering seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
  • cleaning your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
  • asking the driver and passengers to wear a face covering.

What are the plans for vaccinating care home residents?

We have already begun vaccinating care home residents of the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine. As soon as more of this vaccine is available we will continue to vaccinate them as quickly and safely as possible.

What are the plans for vaccinating people who are housebound?

The Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine will be used to vaccinate people who are housebound once care home residents have all been vaccinated. As as we have more information on when we will receive more of this vaccine we will let you know via our Facebook page and our website.

Can I book an appointment for a Covid vaccination at one of the new mass vaccination sites?

NHS England has written to some patients offering them the chance to book at an appointment for a COVID vaccination at one of the new mass vaccination sites, if they live within a 30-40 minute drive.

If you received a letter and wish to book your vaccination at one of these sites, please do so. If you would prefer to wait and attend our local vaccination hub that is also fine.

We appreciate that not everyone will wish to travel but utilising these centres does offer many more opportunities to vaccinate our population.

If you have not received a letter please wait until you are contacted with your vaccination invitation.

Why are other places in the country getting the vaccine before us?

Because this is such a huge task, the vaccination programme is being rolled out in phases across the country, which is why some areas may have started the vaccination process before us. As a practice, we are committed to delivering any vaccine that is supplied to us as speedily and safely as possible.

Please do not contact us to be added to the stand-by list. We will actively refresh it on the basis above from eligible priority groups as the need arises.

Is it true that there are plans for a mass vaccination site based in the car park at Dobbies garden centre, Wendover?

We are aware that there is a huge national drive to increase the sites available for patients to receive a COVID vaccination. At the moment we don’t have any further information about additional sites locally. If we hear anything more we will let you know.

Can I go back to normal activities after my vaccine?

We are all very excited for the future when we can visit people we haven’t seen in months and we are one step closer with the vaccine. Unfortunately, we will need to wait a little longer. We are still in a national lockdown, until the government says otherwise, and having the vaccine does not change the restrictions applied to visiting family and friends

However, you should be able to resume activities that are normal for you as long as you feel well within your home.

  • If your arm is particularly sore, you may find heavy lifting difficult so be careful.
  • If you feel unwell or very tired you should rest and avoid operating machinery or driving.

Will the vaccine fully protect me?

The Covid-19 vaccine has been shown to reduce the chance of you suffering from Covid-19 disease. Rest assured that each vaccine has been tested in more than 20,000 people in several different countries and is shown to be safe.

The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19 infection, and once you have had both doses of the vaccine, this will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill.

It will take one to two weeks for your body to build up some protection after your first vaccination. Please continue to shield and isolate for a few weeks as appropriate to you.

Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so you should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection. Some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but your symptoms should be less severe.

Can you give COVID-19 to anyone if you have had the vaccine?

We do not yet know whether it will stop you from catching and passing on the virus, but we do expect it to reduce this risk. It is still possible to pass the virus through touch. So please make sure you follow the government’s guideline to help protect all of your family, friends and neighbours.

To make sure we keep the rates as low as possible in Buckinghamshire and to protect yourself and your family, friends and colleagues you still need to:

  • Practice social distancing
  • Wear a face mask
  • Wash your hands carefully and frequently
  • Follow the government’s guidelines

Will I experience any side effects after having the vaccine?

You may experience some side effects but they are often mild or moderate and will go away within a few days of appearing. If side effects such as pain and/or fever are troublesome, they can be treated by medicines for pain and fever such as paracetamol.

Here are some common side effects that may occur but should resolve on their own:

Very common: may affect more than 1 in 10 people

  • Pain at injection site
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle pain
  • Chills
  • Joint pain
  • Fever

Although we do not fully know the rate of more serious allergic reactions these are thought to be very rare. Each vaccination centre is fully equipped for this very rare eventuality.

Please could you let us know what the arrangements are for vaccinations at the Odeon in Aylesbury?

NHS England has set up a new Covid vaccination centre at the Odeon in Aylesbury run by Pharmacy 2U to increase capacity in our area. Previously the nearest one was Stevenage so this is clearly much more convenient.

If you receive a letter from NHS England inviting you to attend this vaccination centre you can choose to have your vaccination there or wait until you are called by us. Please follow the advice on the letters as we will not be able to assist you with these bookings. You can still wait to be called by us, nobody will be missed.

We hope that this increased capacity will result in more vaccinations being available locally as long as we collectively continue to receive sufficient supplies of the vaccine. It has been acknowledged nationally that some parts of the country have received more vaccines than others and work is underway to balance this out. We hope to receive more news about this in the future.

What if I receive a text but my old mobile won’t let me book my appointment directly?

If you receive a text asking you to book an appointment for your Covid vaccination but you are unable to do that on your phone then please call the surgery during opening hours and we will book the appointment for you manually. If you can’t get through straight away, please don’t worry. Try and again at another time, until we are able to help you.

How will you keep us updated on news of the vaccination programme?

We will keep you updated every Tuesday and Friday at 3:00 pm on our Facebook page and our website (just click on Hot Covid-19 Vaccine News).

We are working with others to disseminate the information as widely as possible. Because it is changing so frequently any written notices soon go out of date. We really need your help by spreading the news to neighbours without access to these communications, particularly the older more vulnerable members of our community. Information is reassurance and friendship is a lifeline in these isolated times. Please let them know that EVERYONE will be contacted when their vaccine is due and to please wait for that contact. NOBODY will be missed, whether they have heard all of the news or not. Thank you in advance for your help with this #spreadthenews

How will you be responding to Facebook comments?

The social media team are reviewing the Facebook comments about the vaccine each day and we will include them in regular F.A.Q. posts that will be posted on Facebook at 3:00 pm every Tuesday and Friday and will be posted on our website.

How can I help share this information?

Please share this post with people who live in the area so we can make everyone more aware of the situation, particularly those that may not have access to the internet. #spreadthenews #strongertogether

Any final thoughts?

Please be assured that we will contact you when it is your turn to be vaccinated. If you have changed your contact details recently please let us know by sending us a message to westongrove.flu@nhs.net.

Everyone single one of you in the priority groups has a code attached to your medical records so we know whom to invite when.

As with anything new we will be learning as we go along and striving to get better at what we do so that every single person in the national priority groups is offered Covid-19 vaccination as safely and quickly as possible.

Thank you to all our patients for your ongoing support and patience

Kind regards,
Westongrove Social Media Team