COVID Vaccination Programme

The Practices in the west of Gateshead are collaborating to deliver the COVID vaccination to our patients. We are all proud to be part of the largest public health campaign the world has ever seen. This page gives information about that campaign and what patients might expect. A video guide to the centre itself can be found here.

Beware of fraud

It is really sad but we are aware of criminals who would stoop so low as to prey on vulnerable people even during a global pandemic by trying to impersonate the vaccination service.

These scammers are tricking people into handing over cash or financial details. The NHS will never ask for money for the COVID vaccines or for bank details. (If for any reason we did need to verify your identity, and we can't see why we would need to during the COVID vaccination programme, we would ask you to bring your driving license, passport or similar ID down to the surgery)

Be particularly aware of text messages that take you to a web site that ask for bank details, or messages telling you that you can be sent a self vaccination kit for a fee.

THE COVID VACCINES ARE FREE TO EVERYONE INVITED TO HAVE ONE. For those in groups that haven't yet been invited, you cannot buy these vaccines privately,

If you are concerned about a message you have been sent check with the practice or phone the NHS fraud line on 0300 123 2040, or contact Crimestoppers via covidfraudhotline.org. 

About the types of vaccine

In the UK, there are 2 types of COVID-19 vaccine to be used once they are approved. They both require 2 doses to provide the best protection.

Initially at least we have been allocated the Pfizer vaccine, although with the approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine we expect to also receive this one in due course. Both types require two doses to be given  at least 21 days apart and no more than 12 weeks apart. Following government guidance we will be inviting people for their second dose around 10-11 weeks after the first.

Who should have the COVID-19 vaccines

The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI), an independent expert group, has recommended that the NHS offers these vaccines first to those at highest risk of catching the infection and of suffering serious complications if they catch the infection.
This includes older adults, frontline health and social care workers, care home residents and staff, and those with certain clinical conditions. When more vaccine becomes available, the vaccines will be offered to other people at risk as soon as possible.

Are you at increased risk from COVID-19 infection?

Coronavirus can affect anyone. If you are an older adult and have a long-term health condition, COVID-19 can be very serious and in some cases fatal.

You should have the COVID-19 vaccine if you are:

  • an adult living or working in a care home for the elderly
  • a frontline healthcare worker
  • a frontline social care worker
  • a carer working in domiciliary care looking after older adults
  • aged 65 years and over
  • younger adults with long-term clinical conditions (see conditions below)

The vaccine will also be offered to adults with conditions such as:

  • a blood cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
  • diabetes
  • dementia
  • a heart problem
  • a chest complaint or breathing difficulties, including bronchitis, emphysema or severe asthma
  • a kidney disease
  • a liver disease
  • lowered immunity due to disease or treatment (such as HIV infection, steroid medication, chemotherapy or radiotherapy)
  • rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or psoriasis
  • have had an organ transplant
  • had a stroke or a transient ischaemic attack (TIA)
  • a neurological or muscle wasting condition
  • a severe or profound learning disability
  • problem with your spleen, example sickle cell disease, or having had your spleen removed
  • are seriously overweight (BMI of 40 and above)
  • are severely mentally ill

All people who are in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable group will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. Whether you are offered the vaccine may depend on the severity of your condition. Your GP can advise on whether you are eligible.

When will I get my vaccine?

This is a major undertaking and will depend on vaccine availability.We will be calling patients in line with the government priority list. The cohorts we are actively working on are in red (cohorts in green we have completed 1st dose, other than "mopping up".

  1. Care home residents (these will be delivered by community staff) and care home staff (your employer should tell you what arrangements have been made for you to have the vaccine)
  2. 80+ and health and social care workers
  3. 75+
  4. 70+ and those who are clinically extremely vulnerable (on the so-called "shielded list")
  5. 65+ (these are being contacted by the national booking centre)
  6. Other at risk groups (essentially those eligible for the flu jab)
  7. 60+
  8. 55+
  9. 50+

There is currently no decision on those under 50 who do not have an underlying health condition.

Do not call your practice to request a COVID vaccine unless you have been contacted by us. If you are concerned you are in a higher priority contact than we are currently working on and have been missed, contact your practice and ask to speak to the care co-ordinator.

Those who cannot have the vaccine

The vaccines do not contain living organisms, and so are safe for people with disorders of the immune system. These people may not respond so well to the vaccine. A very small number of people who are at risk of COVID-19 cannot have the vaccine – this includes people who have severe allergies.

Women of childbearing age, those who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding should read the detailed information available on NHS.UK. In essence there is no evidence that the vaccine is unsafe if you are breast feeding or pregnant, but conversely more evidence is needed to be sure it is safe. If you are planning pregnancy, you should wait to start until 2 months after your second dose; if you find out you are pregnant between the 1st and 2nd dose, seek advice from your doctor.

Will the vaccine protect you?

The COVID-19 vaccination will reduce the chance of you suffering from COVID-19 disease. It may take a few weeks for your body to build up protection from the vaccine.

The vaccine has been shown to be effective and no safety concerns were seen in studies of more than 20,000 people.

Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective – some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, but this should be less severe.

Side effects

Like all medicines, vaccines can cause side effects. Most of these are mild and short term, and not everyone gets them. Even if you do have symptoms after the first dose, you still need to have the second dose. Although you may get some protection from the first dose, having the second dose will give you the best protection against the virus.

Very common side effects include:

  • having a painful, heavy feeling and tenderness in the arm where you had your injection. This tends to be worst around 1-2 days after the vaccine
  • feeling tired
  • headache
  • general aches, or mild flu like symptoms

Although feeling feverish is not uncommon for 2 to 3 days, a high temperature is unusual and may indicate you have COVID-19 or another infection. You can rest and take the normal dose of paracetamol (follow the advice in the packaging) to help you feel better.

Symptoms following vaccination normally last less than a week. If your symptoms seem to get worse or if you are concerned, call NHS 111.

If you do seek advice from a doctor or nurse, make sure you tell them about your vaccination (show them the vaccination card if possible) so that they can assess you properly.

We are obliged to report all significant side effects via the MHRA Yellow Care Scheme. You can also report suspected side effects to vaccines and medicines online through the Yellow Card scheme.

What to Expect at the Blaydon Vaccination Centre

When you come for your injection, please:

Remember covid rules: Face mask (unless exempt), wash hands regularly and keep 2m. If possible come into the centre alone, unless you need someone to assist you around the centre (we will not be able to provide that assistance). There will be points when passing from one station to another, where there is a little less than 2 m distance - at those points, please keep moving and don't talk to each other.

Arrive on time: appointments are timed at 1 minute intervals to smooth the flow and ensure people can come in without having to wait. Please try to arrive within 5 minutes of your appointment time; if there are more people than is safe in the centre, you may have to queue outside (and given we will be vaccinating over winter, we really want to avoid this).

Wear a short sleeved top: the vaccination space is an open space. Both for modesty and to avoid delays at the vaccination station, please wear a short sleeved top.

Why not watch our video guide to the vaccination centre? (click here)

Faith Considerations

Neither the Pfizer nor AstraZeneca vaccines contain animal products.