Transcript and recording - Q/A Session on the COVID-19 Vaccine
NOTE - Most of the information on this page is accurate, however since the time of posting this, there have been some developments on the COVID-19 vaccination. For the latest updates on the COVID-19 vaccine, please visit here.
Full transcript of the online event - Q/A session on the Covid-19 vaccine- held on 16 February 2021.
- Dr Louise Jones, Healthwatch Camden Chair (meeting facilitator)
- Piers Simey, Acting Director of Public Health for Camden, Camden & Islington Public Health
- Simon Wheatley, Assistant Director, Primary & Community Commissioning, Camden Directorate, North Central London CCG
- Dr Ammara Hughes, Partner Bloomsbury Surgery and Clinical Director Central Camden PCN
- Dr Archana Tina Agrawal, Museum Practice
- Dr Frances Baawuah, Brondesbury Medical Centre
Louise Jones: It's very nice to see so many faces and a little strange to be on Zoom but thank you very much for joining us. My name is Dr Louise Jones I'm the new Chair of Healthwatch Camden.
Louise Jones: And I’m sure that I haven't met very many of you, if any of you before and I just became Chair in December last year. So I’m new, and this is my first Zoom meeting of this nature.
Louise Jones: So on behalf of Healthwatch Camden I'd like to welcome you all to this event. It's wonderful to have so many participants, I can tell you that we have around 200 people registered to join us this evening.
Louise Jones: Because we're such a large number, I want to go over a few housekeeping rules which will help us to make sure that the meeting runs smoothly. We ask that everyone except for the speakers remain on mute at all times you'll find that you're automatically muted. We see that didn't work, but we agree that we are muted now.
Louise Jones: Apologies for this, we also ask that everyone except the presenters turn off your videos because this helps improve the online connection and means that we can all find and see the speakers and interpreters easily. So if you wouldn't mind I could ask you to do that now.
Louise Jones: There is no chat function working for this meeting, this is because, if everyone is messaging it can be distracting and with so many people on the call we just won't be able to keep up.
Louise Jones: The meeting is being recorded, so you can listen again if you miss anything. The recording will be sent to you automatically after the meeting and will be used in the public domain, we will provide a full transcript on our website.
Louise Jones: I would like to introduce our two British Sign Language interpreters Rachel and Taymsyn so Hello Rachel. Comes in, if you'd like to say hi.
Louise Jones: I think Taymsyn may not be with us at the moment. Rachel is here with us now, they will swap in and out every 15 minutes or so.
Louise Jones: If you are a BSL user you may wish to pin the interpreter, so they stay large on your screen. The Non BSL users, we recommend that you view the event in speaker view.
Louise Jones: You can follow @healthwatchcam for live tweets on Twitter throughout the meeting, please do tweet about the event, with a tag @healthwatchcam and use the hashtag #askaboutcovid19vaccine, thank you.
Louise Jones: This is a question and answer session so thanks to all of you who have sent us your questions. We've received literally hundreds of questions, of course, we cannot get to them all.
Louise Jones: So we have amalgamated questions to 32 questions for the evening based on all those that you've sent in, and we hope we managed to cover many of the issues that you've raised. We will also be sharing the full list of all your questions with the members of the panel.
Louise Jones: The goal of this event is to provide you with factual information on the Covid 19 vaccine. Just as a warm up, we would like you to answer this question on what you brought you here today, so the poll function, you can see the options coming up on your screen in a moment, now there's the screen.
Louise Jones: So if you could check any of the boxes there if you're willing to check a box there, so what brought you to this Q and A event on the Covid 19 vaccine. Please choose one of the six options.
Louise Jones: Okay, thank you. I think that once everyone's answered, we can remove that from our screens, thank you. And there's the result. So there's a range of answers, but the most common one, there is, I want to hear from local expert panellists so that's nice so that's reassuring for our panellists tonight. Could I ask those of you who haven't switched off your cameras to do so, please, because it improves the connection for the rest of the group.
Louise Jones: So, once we get going I’m sure that will work Okay, for you. So let's move on to introduce the panel so to answer the questions I’m delighted to introduce our panellists this evening. So we start with Piers Simey, who is the acting Director of Public Health for Camden, Camden and Islington Public Health.
Louise Jones: We have Dr Tina Agrawal from the Museum Practice. We have Dr Frances Baawuah from Brondesbury Medical Centre. Dr Ammara Hughes from Bloomsbury Surgery, and she is also Clinical Director of the central Camden primary care network.
Louise Jones: and Simon Wheatley, Assistant Director primary and Community commissioning the North Central London Clinical Commissioning Group.
Louise Jones: So the first thing will be for each of the speakers to introduce themselves to you with just a few short words about themselves so Piers, would you like to go first.
Piers Simey: Thank you and good evening everyone. We've all been affected by Covid in so many ways, and this continues, the one constant of Covid over the past year has been change. And as we start to understand how to contain and reduce the impact of this new normal awful virus, but now we have a vaccine and a tool to get out of this pandemic. And personally I’ve been really struck by comments that have events where people felt they just aren't confident that they can talk about their concerns or questions about the vaccine and that their views will be respected, and so I just want to be clear on my view, which I know is the same for the panellists and many in the audience.
Piers Simey: Everyone has the right to questions and concerns about the virus and we need to have authentic conversations together, listen to concerns and help everyone make an informed decision around having the vaccine, thank you.
Louise Jones: Thank you peers Tina Agrawal, would you like to go next Tina.
Tina Agrawal: So thank you everybody, thank you for this opportunity to partake in this event as Piers has mentioned hopefully we can listen and inform people of information about the vaccine and help allay any fears and disseminate this across the Camden community, so thank you for the opportunity.
Louise Jones: Thank you so Dr Frances Baawuah.
Frances Baawuah: Thank you, I think that I echo what my colleagues have said, and also would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge anybody who's been affected by Covid this time because we appreciate, certainly from my experience as a GP is that there are many families that have been affected both directly and indirectly by Covid. and I would like to use this opportunity to acknowledge that and hope that we can use this time to positively work and educate our community about vaccination and the benefits that it can have at this time.
Louise Jones: Thank you, Dr. Ammara Hughes.
Ammara Hughes: Thanks Louise, good evening everyone. Again just like Tina and Frances have said, delighted to be part of this chat tonight. At my practice, we are running one of the covid vaccine hubs we were one of the first to go live in Camden so we're just looking at the data today we've vaccinated so far about eight and a half thousand people in Camden in the top six groups, and we continue to do so and it's a delight to work with you all and Community spirit has been absolutely amazing, so thank you.
Louise Jones: Thank you will be on to Simon Wheatley. Simon.
Simon Wheatley: Thanks Louise and good evening everyone. It's one of the perils of going last I didn't really have anything good say on top of my my esteemed colleagues, but it's um I’m really delighted to be invited tonight and I’ve been really privileged over the last few weeks to be able to work with our GP providers, as well as our broader Community providers, mental health adult community to navigate the pandemic through the vaccination program and it's been a real privilege to be involved and to share some of the information and learning from that tonight.
Louise Jones: Thank you, Simon, so I think we'll move on straight into the questions, because we need to move quite swiftly to try and cover as much ground as possible. So the first set of questions we have around the safety of the covid 19 vaccine so first question is to Ammara.
The question is, I am nervous this vaccine was rushed. Can you explain how it was developed so quickly, and can you ensure is that it is safe, how do we know if it will have any long term impact.
Ammara Hughes: It's a question that we're hearing a lot from people and and understandably so, and one thing we have to remember, is it hasn't been rushed. It has gone through all of the checks and balances and safety checks and has been approved by the MHRA which is the medicines regulator and it's gone through all of the bigger safety checks that any medicine goes through before it comes to market.
Ammara Hughes: We’ve now, as you all know from the press we've now vaccinated 15 million people in the country as well and we've got a huge amount of safety data around it I’m pleased to say.
Ammara Hughes: Having worked in our hub, where we would be vaccinating since the middle of December, we haven't had any serious reactions or any adverse effects so just the mild sore arms and a bit of discomfort maybe a bit of tightness, and a mild fever, just like you would have with any other vaccine. So I think we can rigorously say that that this vaccine appears to be very safe.
Ammara Hughes: In terms of long-term data again from the way these vaccines are made, there are no biological products in them, there are no virus particles in them.
Ammara Hughes: There are no blood products, there are no animal products, there are no human products. So the safety, the long term safety profile of these vaccines, I think we should also be very, very confident about that there shouldn't be any long term impact to any of our health, so please come forward.
Louise Jones: Thank you Ammara. So Frances our next question is for you ethnic minority groups have been disproportionately impacted by Covid 19. Due to issues of systemic racism and bias, data has shown these communities are more hesitant to get the vaccine, what would you say to these people.
Frances Baawuah: um I think the response to this question is really quite heavy but to summarize I think what's really important to recognize is that the effects of racism and the social determinants of health are really quite intertwined.
Frances Baawuah: And this is stuff this is things that the government looking at, there are many committees that are really trying to pick out what the what the details here.
Frances Baawuah: But it does seem what's becoming apparent is that the people who potentially need the vaccine the most are the group that seems to be more wary of it, and certainly from what we can see, there are mechanisms out there, where there is a spread of misinformation and what's becoming clear is that this misinformation is almost like a virus in itself, and that one person says something and then there's whispers and it blows up and becomes something completely different so we've got the Covid vaccine and kind of the covid 19 virus doing something, then you've got misinformation perpetuating that so what I would say to people who are hesitant and who are hearing things.
Frances Baawuah: or who are misinformed, is that you really need to fact check and I hope that this is an opportunity where people can do that. But if you see information that's out there that saying you know things that you don't really understand you know the virus has fetal cells, you know Ammara's pointed to the fact already that you know there isn't anything you know there's no gelatin in there, so that you know, there are lots of lots of facts out lots of misinformation out there, that people are making fact in their mind, but my advice to people would be.
Frances Baawuah: seek help look on informed websites if there's something that you find fact check it with somebody who you know is knowledgeable and has information and make sure that the source of information that you have is reliable.
Frances Baawuah: And certainly there are many such webinars like this from community leaders from GPs from public health England.
Frances Baawuah: They are all there, but perhaps not advertise as well as the misinformation sites that you can find factual information about the vaccine.
Frances Baawuah: So that that would be my advice to people who are hesitant and who are unfortunately becoming exposed to what we are calling, you know the virus of misinformation.
Louise Jones: Thank you, Frances The next question is for Tina Agrawal. Tina I had covid 19 very badly from March to September 2020 for 6 whole months. Is it safe for someone who had Covid to get the vaccine.
Louise Jones: An I immune? Do I still need to be vaccinated will I have worst side effects from the vaccine, Tina
Tina Agrawal: So you know, obviously it's not very nice that people have had covered, but they may have some auto antibodies there, but I would still encourage everybody to be vaccinated to get that booster that they need.
Tina Agrawal: It also we know from the vaccine that it helps reduce transmission, so it not only protects you but it protects your family and people around you, so it is very, very important.
Tina Agrawal: And outside the UK they're talking about whether you should have one or two doses, the government still recommends, in the UK two doses, even if you are Covid-19 positive. The first one whenever you are eligible for it, and the second dose 12 weeks later.
Louise Jones: Thank you so saying with you Tina we have a question on pregnancy and fertility. So the question is can pregnant women be vaccinated? What about breastfeeding women? Will the vaccine impact my fertility, if I want to get pregnant in the future?
Tina Agrawal: If I answered that in reverse order regarding the fertility, the vaccine, either Pfizer or the AstraZeneca, has any impact on fertility. It is not changing any genetics or any reproductive functionality. What we are advising is caution, because they are newer vaccines, though the AstraZeneca is very much like the flu vaccine, which is used in pregnancy and breastfeeding. I think these are conversations for individual level to assess risk benefit.
There's no absolutely no, no, but a conversation with a health care professional should be had about whether you should have the vaccine or not depending on your risk profile.
Louise Jones: Thank you right, so the next category of questions is about Covid-19 vaccine ingredients, so the first question is to Ammara?
What are the vaccines made of I think you've kind of covered this if there's anything further you want to add – any pork, gelatin or you know any other animal products in any vaccines, I think he probably gave us the answer already but your answer.
Ammara Hughes: There are no pork, gelatine or animal blood or organisms of any kind in in the vaccine. They are made in the lab, they are engineered in a laboratory, so there is no live ingredient in there.
Louise Jones: Thank you.
Louise Jones: Frances, another question for you. Do the vaccines have Covid-19 in it to make it effective and will the vaccine give me Covid-19 in any way?
Frances Baawuah: And so, this question, I think what's important to realize is how the vaccine works. I think answering that might help people understand better about it. Firstly categorically the vaccine does not contain the live virus so having the vaccine cannot give you Covid-19. And how the vaccine is made, that essentially it contains a messenger RNA which is different to DNA so it's got nothing to do with our integral being. And with the nucleus of ourselves, this is RNA that can come in and answer cells and essentially what the vaccine does is it gives instructions to ourselves to make a harmless piece of protein called a spike protein which is basically found on the surface of the virus, so if everyone recall seeing pictures of this virus and the reason it's called corona is because it has these kind of spikes over the cell and that's how one identifies it and so these spikes are basically what the vaccine helps us produce and once our body recognizes these spikes our body produces an immune antibodies or another white antibodies called fighter cells to basically be able to help defend us should we be exposed to coronavirus so the beauty of this vaccine is that once you've had the vaccine and the messenger RNA which, which is given in the vaccine enters and triggers this response, within two or three days the messenger RNA actually self-combust in it and it dissolves and it disappears from our body.
So, not only does this vaccine help produce fighter cells, but equally the ingredients that's used to do that actually dissolves within the body within two or three days, and I think that is what makes us so confident that actually the vaccine is not likely to cause any long-term effects on the things like fertility and pregnancy as Tina had alluded to before.
And I think what's really important to stress at this point is that you know, we have done now 10 million vaccines, plus 15 million I think at the weekend. And in the UK and it's really reassuring to see the very, very small amounts of side-effects that are happening and, equally, if we look abroad and globally in countries like Israel, where they're going now to people who are 16 and over for the vaccine and pregnant women that's women who have fertility age, and they have some really, really quite interesting data, also about the safety of the vaccine of what we're finding so far.
Louise Jones: Thank you. Dr Ammara, are you there? I can't see you, but I hope you're still there, the next question is for you.
Ammara Hughes: I am. I think, sorry Louise is just stretched audio.
Louise Jones: No worries um I’m a bus driver and I wanted the vaccine but I’m worried about the side effects, what are the side effects and long- term impacts of the vaccine which affects my existing health conditions, and this is a painful?
Ammara Hughes: So the that's a really lovely question actually. The side-effects, as I spoke earlier, are very mild. It's not a painful job it's it's like having the flu vaccine it's no more, no more uncomfortable than that, and you have a slightly sore arm, probably for the next day or so, some people have reported feeling tired and having a mild fever which settles with paracetamol and anybody with a long term condition we would say you absolutely should have the vaccine because you're actually more at risk of Covid-19 than somebody without a long term conditions, so I would definitely encourage you to come forward and the long-term impact as I alluded to earlier, as well, we think these vaccines from what we know about them they're incredibly safe.
There isn't anything, there were no ingredients in these vaccines that suggests that we should be worried about any adverse long-term effects, so please come forward for your vaccine definitely.
Louise Jones: Thank you. So, Tina there's a following on from that. Somebody asked, I had really bad side effects when I got the first dose. I had, chills, fever 39c, lump/pain around the jab, tingling, tinnitus, weak left hand. 1) Where to report these side effects? 2) is it safe for me to get a second dose?
Tina Agrawal: So obviously these are some of the side-effects that are quite common with the vaccine. I think it needs attention if there are persisting side-effects, because most of the side-effects are what we call transients so they last for a day or two and resolve on their own, but if there's anything that's uncomfortable, then they should seek advice through their GP or 119.
Another source of advice or they can also talk to the pharmacist as well with regards to reporting mechanism, obviously we are collecting data on this.
So patients can self-report, using the yellow card system which is available on the coronavirus government website, or they can report it to the health care professional who will report it on their behalf but luckily, as we all mentioned, a huge numbers of vaccines have been given quite safely without any significant alerts coming through that we've been informed as the medical profession, so the common ones of the sort of the painful arm, fever, tiredness mild headache are there, but nothing beyond that and nothing that last more than a day or two.
Louise Jones: And is it safe for me to get a second dose if I had a bit of a reaction, the first time?
Tina Agrawal: Yes, I mean, if you're anxious, you can mention it to the health care professional that's delivering the vaccine but usually if you react first time you tend not to react, the second time, because your body has already primed for the virus right.
Louise Jones: Okay, thank you, so we move on now to some questions for assignment and is about the details of the local vaccine rollout and vaccine availability zone are the next category of questions, so Simon the first one's for you.
Louise Jones: My wife and I are in our mid-80s and had our first those are the Pfizer vaccine on the 30th of December. But our appointment for a second dose was cancelled, which makes us concerned when will we be contacted to share with you our second dose and how will second vaccinations be managed?
Simon Wheatley: Thanks Louise and so for residents who had their vaccines booked in December and the time our primary care sites were operating under guidance that meant the vaccine, the second dose, should be booked at three weeks so that was set out in national guidance at the time. After new year's we receive new guidance nationally from the former chief medical officers of the United Kingdom to set out a new a new ambition, which was to defer the second doses from three weeks to 12 weeks.
And so that was for a number of reasons, but in particular to ensure the fullest possible spread of first doses, in order to minimize the Covid-19 incidents in the United Kingdom.
So people who had their second dose book to three weeks will have, for the most part, have theirs second dose cancelled at that point with the expectation will be rebooked in the future.
Now, our PCN sites will be going through the consistent process they've been so far, so people don't need to worry, it will be contacted by their practice. Camden is using a consistent call and recall process, so people would be contacted by phone initially or by letter to have their second dose scheduled.
And there's also a point- of-care software called pinnacle which is recording everyone's vaccine to make sure that that supplies organized for 12 weeks, and so that will happen automatically, and people don't need to worry, however, if they feel that they've been missed out, for whatever reason, and they should contact their practice.
Louise Jones: So you are confident that there will be sufficient supply a vaccine for the second dose?
Simon Wheatley: So I think there's a supplementary question on that Louise but I mean yes in essence we're working the slight and ambiguity is that we're working nationally, with a supply chain that's new, and our PCN model is now operating working under what we call a push model at the moment, so the supply nationally is being pushed to sites. What we're trying to do, nationally a shift away from a push model to a pull one.
So where peace inside say I need to book in these patients at this time and there's a bit more flexibility for our PCN sites to and to expand the range of patients they're vaccinating but we're not quite to that point yet.
Louise Jones: Okay, thank you so moving on to Piers so first question for you how many people in Camden have been vaccinated so far? Have they been effective, what is the uptake of vaccines, taking into account, indicators of any inequalities?
And will any changes to the arrangements images, the next priority groups are invited, with the vaccination quite a few questions in there, but if you could start and maybe I'll come back if I don't feel, I understand your answer.
Piers Simey: Thank you Louise, so four questions in one. It's pause for thought, ready to reflect that the first person to be vaccinated in Camden was on the eighth of December seems such a long time ago. But only just over two months, and since then from the data we have around 30,000 Canada residents have been vaccinated and clearly the number grows daily and impressively.
Have the vaccines been effective? We're seeing signs of positive impact nationally, but it's possibly just a bit too early to say, and this will be in the news, and I think. Reports are scheduled, but as of yet and we know that the vaccine reduces severe illness and deaths from all the research so far and the bulk of that protection comes through the first jab, and so, in terms of impact on lockdowns and the current lockdown when we know that that, the impact on infections is through the lockdown and we're not yet clear around the impact around the vaccination on it.
In terms of the indicators of inequalities, we know that people living in the most deprived parts of Camden are less likely to take up the vaccination and it also appears that uptake in different ethnic groups is lower, so, for example, a recent survey by Oxford University in the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggested that black people aged over the 80s are least likely to have had the vaccine than white people over-80s as well. The gap may have narrowed amongst younger populations and but it's something to consider and local data suggests we're seeing similar gaps as well. We clearly want to understand why local intelligence from all our communities and see how we continue to support people around making an informed choice.
And then, in terms of the last question about any changes to the arrangements for the next priority groups. We are expecting an announcement soon, but as things stand, and we've just moved from the first four vaccination groups into groups, five and six, the fifth one being those age 65 to 69. And then it's everyone with underlying long term health conditions as well, so these have been set for the clear reasons around reducing the risk of harm from Covid-19 and, as things stand, we will push through to all the first phase of priority groups.
Louise Jones: Thank you there's another question for you now Piers. A long question so. It starts, I have had my first, so the Pfizer vaccine and I’m extremely worried about the efficacy of the vaccine following the government decision to delay the second death by 12 weeks. The vaccine was approved on the protocol of 21 to 28 days into between the two doses.
The Government decision, which goes against the WHO recommendation of an interval of 4 weeks between doses, to be extended only in exceptional circumstances to 6 weeks, and ignores the concerns of the BMA, is not based on scientific data, but on the need to vaccinate as many people as possible. Is there also a guarantee of having the Pfizer vaccine supply after a 12-weeks delay?
So I think we sort of covered that kind of sets out the worries that people might have from what they hear and read. We reassured, I think, from previous answers that the supply will be there, what would you like to say Piers.
Piers Simey: And this is an issue that has attracted a lot of strong coverage around it and the UK position as you set out was based on extending the period between doses. Because we know vaccine supplies is limited and the aim is around making sure that the greatest number of people could benefit from a first dose that gives the majority of a benefit. Now recently in the past week, the World Health Organization moved to endorse the United kingdom's position for the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine in terms of extending this period and recommending that is delayed to between eight to 12 weeks after the first injection.
Now there's no current position by the World Health Organization, on the Pfizer vaccine. But I think it's fair to expect there to either be a position to be published, or else in from the evidence of what's in place the position these to change, then it will change, but the reason why we might expect the WHO to support and the position on the face of vaccine is several. For most vaccines, an extended period between the first vaccine and the booster doses leads to a better immune response to the booster dose. Published evidence suggests that there's strong protection against curbing symptoms from the first dose after a matter of weeks.
And there's currently no strong evidence to expect the immune response from the Pfizer vaccine to differ substantially from that affected from the AstraZeneca vaccine as well as Moderna vaccine, and just as a final point. The 16 experts on the Joint Committee for vaccination and immunization who, on the basis of their recommendations and they're supporting team of the ones that have set much of the program that we have in place and they've considered this extensively from all angles, to come up with a recommendation.
Louise Jones: Thank you that's very clear. Okay, so we're moving on to another category of questions which is effectiveness of the vaccine so Tina The first question is for you. How long will the vaccine protect me? Will we need booster or yearly jobs for Covid-19 or will it disappear once the vaccinations have completed?
Tina Agrawal: Thanks for that question I think that's quite a difficult question to answer, I think I think we're still learning about the vaccination program and effectiveness of the vaccine. I mean, I think the first thing is to make sure that everybody who's eligible gets the vaccine to begin with, and we will get more data about its effectiveness and how long it's protecting you for as the date data comes up comes along, I think there is a suggestion in the media and in the medical press that there will be needed to have booster shots like the flu jab flu vaccine that happens yearly. Also, because viruses mutate and change and we know that's already the case that happening in in a small minority of cases.
So I think I think this will be work-in-progress I don't think I have the answers and I don't think anybody else knows that definitively. But our main aim is for as many people to have the vaccine, in the first place.
To start off with and if there's anybody who has any doubt or any questions just raise it to a health care professional you can try and allay or discuss those questions or fears with them.
Louise Jones: Ammara now on to you.
Louise Jones: Can you explain why are the three different kinds of vaccines, can I choose which one I get, is one more effective than the other, and will all work for the new strains? Also will I get two doses of the same vaccine? Ammara.
Ammara Hughes: Thanks Louise. There are three different types because they've been produced by different three different drug companies that's the simplest answer I can give you on that.
Ammara Hughes: choice we get asked a lot about choice at the hub. What we all have to remember is there is currently a limited supply of all of these vaccines so unfortunately we can't have a choice of the vaccine.
Ammara Hughes: And we don't know, based on the supply chain assignment alluded to earlier, which vaccine we're getting from week to week so if you're invited for a vaccine, please take up the offer of the vaccine, but we can't give you a choice because we don't have the choice either.
Ammara Hughes: The effectiveness, all of the vaccines have been proven to reduce serious side effects of Covid.
Ammara Hughes: So stop you getting seriously ill and looking at all of trial data, the groups in the trial were relatively smaller than the number of people that we have now vaccinated so as far as we can tell all of the vaccines will protect you from becoming seriously unwell. And you will currently get two doses of the same vaccine, because there is no data to support mixing and matching vaccines. With regards to the new strains, work is ongoing and obviously all of the producers, the Pfizer, Astra Zeneca, Moderna they're all looking at how affected by vaccines are.
Ammara Hughes: But much like the flu vaccines, every year, where the a new strain comes along and we have to adapt the flu vaccines. All of the manufacturers of manufacturers of these vaccines were advising us that they're confident that they will be able to protect against the new strains but that work is currently ongoing.
Louise Jones: Thank you that's very clear. Tina back to you.
Louise Jones: I don't think my risk of Covid is that great. I know that i'd be fine if I caught Covid, probably just get a little sick I wouldn't need to go to hospital Do I need to get vaccinated why?
Tina Agrawal: Well, the vast majority people do you get Covid mildly but, unfortunately, and it's not always predictable, some people get very, very sick. We've seen in the past, more than 12 months of how many people have unfortunately caught Covid either become seriously on well or have had have died from the disease. So it's really important that as we've mentioned anybody that's eligible for the vaccine takes it up to reduce even that very, very small chance of being very, very unwell or seriously unwell from it.
Tina Agrawal: And also, there is anecdotal evidence that it helps reduce transmission of the virus, which is also an important part so you're not just protecting yourself but your Community your friends your family and and the system as a whole. Ao, whether it be in social care, healthcare whatever profession, you are you're reducing that transmission to your colleagues in other parts of the system.
Tina Agrawal: And I’m sure everybody whose on this on this tonight would like to see an end to lockdown would like to see life returning to normal, be able to hug your friends your family, your grandparents, your grandchildren. So as much as possible, as people can we can encourage people to take up the vaccine. And once again the people who have doubts please speak to someone, we're not here to rubbish people's thoughts or ideas, but more to listen and address any concerns that we may have.
Louise Jones: Thank you very much.
Louise Jones: So we now move to Frances. My question goes like this, I’ve had the job, does this mean I’m completely protected from catching Covid 19, why are we still told we have to practice social distancing and wear masks?
Frances Baawuah: So I think this question has been partly answered by both Ammara and Tina and that and I think Piers also alluded to it that the vaccine the evidence behind the vaccine that it definitely prevents severe infection.
Frances Baawuah: And certainly terrible mortality or illness and death from Covid.
Frances Baawuah: In terms of being completely protected I think that's effectively saying that it's 100% effective and no vaccine is 100%. So I think it would be unreasonable to say that after you've been vaccinated that you're completely protected.
Frances Baawuah: However, I think that the evidence that we have suggests that once you've been vaccinated the risk of you dying from Covid or being hospitalized from Covid or having severe infection from Covid is significantly reduced.
Frances Baawuah: And the other thing as well - as that everyone's now hearing about as long Covid so, even though there are people who don't you know necessarily be hospitalized, there's certainly a cohort of people who have prolonged illness from Covid and certainly if you had a vaccine that made you capture a milder version, then that would also be as well as you know, being kept out of hospital the prospects of not ever having long Covid, but it would also be in my view, beneficial.
Frances Baawuah: So I think what's reasonable to say is that it's not 100% but certainly the data is looking really very, very good for the vaccine stopping you and having a long term illness from Covid, being hospitalized and, of course, from a mortality or death point of view.
Frances Baawuah: In terms of why we still have to social distance and wearing masks etc. as Tina's alluded to, you know, we are still in a significant pandemic, we still have quite high levels of, significantly improved absolutely, but high levels of infection rates and we still have quite a lot of people to vaccinate and we equally don't have confirmed data on the transmission rates with vaccination.
Frances Baawuah: So I think whilst we're waiting for this data as Piers has alluded to, and whilst we're gathering, all of this and we're trying to do everything as best as efficiently and as quickly as we can, it certainly makes sense to be very, very careful and err on the side of caution at all times.
Frances Baawuah: And one thing that I don't think I’ve heard mentioned, as well as of course people that have asymptomatic infection.
Frances Baawuah: So there is a huge cohort people you know 30% of people, with Covid never know they have it. And so part of this social distancing and masks etc are to prevent people and acting like everybody has Covid, because at the moment, you know we are missing a significant portion of people who will never have symptoms or will never show.
Louise Jones: Thank you very much that's very helpful answer.
Louise Jones: So we move on now to vaccine access. So different categories of questions again the first one on the list is for Ammara.
Louise Jones: Could a patient do for surgery at UCLH have their second vaccination at UCLH when the first was done through their GP. What do you think about that?
Ammara Hughes: Well potentially yes and my only caveat to that would be it depends on the supply to each mass vac site or the GP site. As Simon’s alluded to there's some quite complex modeling going on around delivery for second doses so how are second dose deliveries are being modeled at the moment is based on the number of first doses we've given.
Ammara Hughes: So what I would say. I would say, with caution, potentially, yes, but what I would say actually to guarantee your second dose stick to where you were given your first dose because they will they will definitely be supplied with the second dose based on the modeling that we're being told centrally is happening.
Louise Jones: Okay that's helpful answer, thank you. The next question is for Simon.
Louise Jones: How will, I know when it's my turn to be offered the vaccine, how would you ensure that you reach people who don't have access to mobile phones? What adjustments will you make to ensure your reach with communication support needs or disabilities? and also what about the homeless? So again there's lots of questions in there.
Louise Jones: As I said, I’ll come back if I don't feel clear myself.
Simon Wheatley: Yeah thanks Louise if I lose my train of thoughts it’s a bit like a Russian doll question. To start off first on the point about how will I know if it's my turn. So we've mentioned a few times about the JCVI, the Joint Committee for Vaccinations and Immunizations so that's a governmental body that has set out a framework for prioritization and for the population.
Simon Wheatley: And so, as Piers mentioned earlier, nationally the supply of vaccine has been constrained, not low it's being constrained has been sufficient, but an exercise in prioritization has had to take place to make sure there's a consistent approach to making sure those most at risk of Covid and serious implications of Covid are vaccinated first.
Simon Wheatley: So what our providers have achieved in Camden is probably about a week and a half ahead of the national deadline, the mid February deadline to make sure all people in cohorts 1-4, so that's everyone 70 and over, care home and residents staff and frontline healthcare workers have had an offer of the vaccine. And really heartening to see a really significant number of who've taken up that opportunity.
Simon Wheatley: And so the JCVI sets out the order in which our sites in Camden and elsewhere, can actually progress through the population in a consistent way and there's limited local flexibility to work around that.
Simon Wheatley: In terms of how people will know or rather how people will be contacted. So we've got two primary delivery models in Camden, replicated elsewhere. So we've got our primary care network sites which are being supported by general practitioners.
Simon Wheatley: We've also got a vaccination Centre the Frances Crick Institute and that was mobilized about three to four weeks or so ago, and it has a slightly different focus. Both of those services have a slightly different way of booking an appointment.
Simon Wheatley: So the primary care sites are contacting people very similar to the flu campaign and the call and recall processes to support the flu campaign so people have been contacted by the on the phone.
Simon Wheatley: For those who aren’t being contacted on phone they're being sent a letter. So there's belt and braces to make sure people are being followed up.
Simon Wheatley: With the vaccination Centre at the Frances Crick, that's using something called the national booking service.
Simon Wheatley: So people are eligible to book in there will be receiving a letter of invitation to use a website to book an appointment so it's a slightly different slightly different service now with primary care.
Simon Wheatley: So our primary care sites will be contacting people as they become eligible on the JCVI so people don't need to worry. They will be contacted at the right time and people won't be missed it’s based on the Camden GP clinical record so it's very comprehensive and very consistent.
Simon Wheatley: And in terms of people who've got additional communication needs, that will be recorded on people's clinical system that Camden GPs use called EMIS. So people's family members or advocates will be contacted and people don't need to worry those communication needs will be identified.
Simon Wheatley: In the borough we've worked with providers to facilitate a pan-Camden approach to specific population groups so, for example, those with a learning disability, those living in care homes.
Simon Wheatley: So for those residents who’ve got specific needs, those are being reflected in the approach that the sites are taking and they're working together, and I can see a couple of CNWL (Central and North West London) colleagues on the call today and we've been really grateful for the support from our Adult Community provider in putting those plans in place.
Simon Wheatley: And the final point, I think, was specifically around homeless residents, and so I know this is an area that's of particular interest to lots of people in Camden and we are having a very active conversation at the moment about a consistent way to make sure that all homeless people are picked up.
Simon Wheatley: And that no one's left behind so actually I’m really heartened that a number of homeless residents have already been booked into our primary care sites and have received the vaccination that way.
Simon Wheatley: We also have a significant number living in hostels at the moment, some supported by greater London authority, some who are living in in other hostels.
Simon Wheatley: And we're just exploring a number of ways to reach those residents, because we know homeless people have complex needs and quite complex living conditions, and we think we're probably going to need quite a multi-faceted approach to making sure that they're covered consistently. But rest assured we've got a plan and people are already coming through for their vaccines from that community.
Louise Jones: Thank you that's very good to hear.
Louise Jones: So we move on now to Piers, in the same category of questions.
Louise Jones: So my question here goes, I was sent a text this week, inviting me to make an appointment for the vaccine, either at my GP or at Belsize Priory Health Centre.
Louise Jones: As I have mobility problems, I wanted to make an appointment at the GP where I can park outside. Parking is not possible at Belsize Priory except on Saturdays. I’ve tried every day, a few times each day, with no luck, and today I received the message that they were no more appointments this week, I will be contacted in due course.
Louise Jones: Any advice, please to ensure an appointment that I can get to easily.
Piers Simey: Sounds like this has been a bit of a logistical headache. And I don't know if my GP colleagues will agree with this, but I recommend getting in touch with the practice to discuss your needs, because it seems like this is falling in between the availability of slots versus your own transport arrangements. Clearly accessibility to the vaccination program is so vital, and this needs to be addressed, for you.
Louise Jones: Any comments from our GPs?
Ammara Hughes: Can I come in there Piers, actually there is a transport link, actually Simon you might be able to share that, who are helping support patients get to appointments. We've been working as well with our CNWL colleagues with for house bound vaccinations so if somebody is unable to get an appointment they are able to get vaccinated at home. The third thing that we've done around my hub and it's worth, I don't know whether Belsize Priory have done this whether these conversations have happened, but we worked with the Council and we've suspended all of the parking around our hub.
Ammara Hughes: So people can drive and park without getting a ticket so that supports mobility problems. So hopefully there are ways to help support this individual.
Louise Jones: that's helpful Tina and then Frances.
Tina Agrawal: yeah and I was just gonna say obviously one of the program first started it was limited to a number of sites and there was limited vaccine availability and choice, but actually that has expanded hugely. So we have more local sites, we have more mass vaccination sites.
Tina Agrawal: And so there is more choice. We are limited by vaccines supply, so if it arrives on a certain day, we tend to get the appointments go out on a weekly basis and sometimes that feels like there's no more choice, but there will be choices later on. And once again, if you make your needs known to the team that either helping support your booking the appointment or to your local practice, we will we will keep your name on a list, and we will try and accommodate your needs as best as possible. So we’ve work with people who have no phones by contacting their neighbours, house bound visiting outreach work with the hostels. So we are trying every avenue, but we do need to know about you to help you support you know you coming forward.
Louise Jones: Thank you, Frances did you want to add?
Frances Baawuah: yeah I mean just given that I work at the Belsize hub, it was really just to say that our Federation have actually just got a contract with a cab taxi company, and so we definitely categorically can help this group of patients by offering transport and that that is there.
Frances Baawuah: If you contact your GP or Haverstock, they can arrange that and just really to emphasize what Tina was saying. Now, you know, even though my GP is Brondesbury, we help with Belsize Priory, probably, we have, because we have had a low uptake of our patients, because they they can't or they won't travel far.
Frances Baawuah: We are offering satellite clinics within the practice and that actually we found is incredibly helpful because it is reaching out to a cohort of patients who, for various reasons, just aren't able to make it, you know one and a half miles up the road.
Frances Baawuah: So I’m equally as Tina says it may be that your local practice will be able to offer something more local to you so really it's just a matter of highlighting your needs, and we can certainly accommodate.
Piers Simey: So that's the first time we've had four answers to one question, it really shows you know the breadth of what's available and clearly as a bottom line about time for a conversation to share your needs and to work out how we can help you.
Louise Jones: Really really helpful thank you all. Another question for you Piers. I am eager to get this vaccine so that we can all move forward, but I don't have underlying health conditions and I’m middle-aged, when can I expect to be offered the vaccine and when do you think everyone will be vaccinated by?
Piers Simey: Thank you so according to the schedule that has been advertised so far, and this may change, but everyone's been focused around the kind of around valentine's day for the first four priority groups to have the offer which obviously we're past.
Piers Simey: And now we're extending into another phase for the next five priority groups. So those groups that have identified among people who have the greatest risk of harm from Covid.
Piers Simey: And as Simon said that these groups are set nationally from that. So really that the simple answer is, after that. I have some empathy with this, because I might be in the queue with you as well, but I think the bottom line is anytime between May and September on current schedules.
Louise Jones: Excellent Thank you very much.
Tina Agrawal: I was going to jump in there, so.
Louise Jones: Please do.
Tina Agrawal: This is that I think I’m going to be a bit more optimistic than Piers on that. As you know, we are, we are really doing really well on the vaccination front. No one thought that the UK would be at 50 million by Valentine's day. They've upped the offer we've got to get to 32 million by the end of April.
Tina Agrawal: So that's pretty much you know, nearly half the country so that's really good, we're making leaps and bounds. If you look at all those vaccine calculators that were on lots of websites, you know you're waiting till 2022 if you were in your late 40s or something, actually if you now go visit those websites they're pushing you further ahead. So I think I think hopefully we'll be in a much more optimistic frame of mind.
Louise Jones: Excellent we can tell our friends.
Piers Simey: It almost sounds like it's worth having a bet on this Tina is bringing the ante up further.
Louise Jones: We’ll discuss it next time. Thank you, Simon there's one for you now. I was already told to get vaccinated but chose not to attend my appointment. Did I miss my chance, can I be reschedule or will I need to move to the back of the queue?
Simon Wheatley: So I think I can cover this one really quickly Louise. So NO, people haven't missed that opportunity. And I think if they're in those eligible cohorts they already know, which presumably they are, by nature of being offered an appointment. And I would encourage them to contact their practice and their practice will make sure they're on the and they're put forward for the PCN hubs to be booked into a subsequent clinic. So categorically people will not be missed that way, and they should proactively reach out to their practice to ensure that they get their jab in the near future.
Louise Jones: Thank you, so this is really important if anybody is listening and feels they have changed their mind that you still can.
Louise Jones: You still can put yourself forward so that's really helpful so everyone should have confidence that they will be treated fairly and with respect, thank you. Piers there's a couple for you now.
Louise Jones: There's a very pithy question here, are the sanctions are not taking the vaccine and is the vaccine free?
Piers Simey: Thank you, Louise so on a run of questions. So turning that double head around just to say categorically the vaccine is free first off. And the issue of sanctions, you've seen a fair amount of discussion around this in the media. I think the first thing to say, and very clearly around this that vaccination is not compulsory, if I can say the word in this country for the public. And this position is set out in law.
Piers Simey: Our approach to vaccination for Covid or for the full range of vaccinations that we have an offer is to focus on good information and support for people to make that informed choice and changes to this position are very unlikely.
Piers Simey: And so, focusing in on the potential sanctions and what's being discussed. I think there are two potential areas that have come up in my reading of the newspapers and other lines, there may be others too. But the first of these around travel. The UK’s Vaccination Minister Nadhim Zahawai has ruled out vaccination passports, but there may be government that vaccine certificates provided if other countries require evidence of vaccination and that's something that was running in the papers today.
Piers Simey: And then the second of these relating to work and the key fundamental issues around how best to protect others at work. The headlines on this have been too early, as we don't yet have full and strong evidence on how much the vaccine prevents you passing on Covid to others. And there are people have said that people won't be able to work until they've had vaccination but there are others who have strongly pushed for the approach, the kind of flip side of it sticking to ensuring, as many people as possible are vaccinated to help protect those who can't be vaccinated. So as ever with Covid, strong views on both sides, but there are no sanctions now and the vaccine remains free.
Louise Jones: Thank you that's reassuring. Another one that is in the press quite a lot at the moment and is a bone of contention, When will teachers be prioritized for their vaccinations? Piers that's on your list to answer do you have a view.
Piers Simey: Yes, so this Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunizations, JCVI and (I don't think they've ever known so much interest in their work as before.) We've talked about how they've gone around the process of looking at clinical need and clinical harm and tried to protect as many people as possible from severe illness and death. You've heard this in several answers already and now so we've a schedule which I spoke about earlier.
Piers Simey: Clearly, many people have pushed for teachers to be vaccinated and to be prioritized. Just this morning I was listening to Mayor Sadiq Khan advocating for this on radio 5 live. But, as things stand, the only thing we know is the timetable for vaccinating the nine priority groups and this runs through to April. Teachers will be vaccinated within these priority groups, due to their age and or their health conditions, but not specifically their profession.
Piers Simey: A new policy on vaccinating teachers may or may not come into my BBC News feed at any point, I just have no Intel to share on this today.
Louise Jones: I think it's important what you say that if you're a teacher and if you're in the age group, and you have clinical need, then you will be vaccinated along with everyone else in that age group with clinical need.
Louise Jones: And younger teachers, perhaps there's not so much worry. sorry Piers?
Piers Simey: No, apologies on my side Louise for interrupting you. But, you make such an important point around the inequalities in uptake that we've discussed and within each of these priority groups that's where it's so essential that people are informed and take up on the offer to help reduce the inequalities and access, so you made the parallel for teachers, but it obviously covers the range of individuals and demographic characteristics.
Louise Jones: Thank you. Right back to our medics now Ammara, one for you. Can I bring someone to the appointment with me? I’m elderly and I’m not too comfortable with English. Bringing a support person would make me much more comfortable. Perhaps you could say something about that for us.
Ammara Hughes: Absolutely categorically yes. In fact, most people coming to my hub are bringing people with them because that's how they feel comfortable. Yes, we're good with that. Remember a lot of the sites are actually your GP practices so we're very used to you coming with people who are either carers or support workers or somebody to support you so absolutely yes I’d encourage that. Thank you.
Louise Jones: Okay, so this sort of segways into another couple of questions about carers. And they're both for you, Simon. So the first one is when do you anticipate that carers of disabled children will get the vaccine in Camden? Will both parents be considered equally as carers and be able to get the vaccine? What if we don't live with our child but are still in his support bubble. And is there a way parents or caregivers can be identified as a priority list for any spare vaccination appointments available? Simon.
Simon Wheatley: Thanks Louise. I always end up with a compartmentalize questions.
Louise Jones: Yes, I’m sorry about that.
Simon Wheatley: I’ll try to work my way through but please if I lost something or if you feel I miss something, please pick me up on it. And I think this is one where I’d be keen on hearing from provider colleagues afterwards, but certainly there's been a lot of debate, nationally and I’ve heard a lot of conversation locally around where carers sit within the JC VI cohorts.
Simon Wheatley: And so we have had clarification over time that carers of the elderly and disabled people and who would be at risk, were their carers to fall ill, now sit within cohort six. And, as many have mentioned cohort six is now being invited to book with a PCN or primary care site for vaccination.
Simon Wheatley: And I think in terms - of one of the important things is to make sure people's GPs are aware that they self-identify as a carer and so that's an important factor of making sure that's noted on people's clinical records in order the practices can generate the list that goes over to the PCN hubs for booking an appointment. I think that self-identification is quite well is important and self-defined. So I know, there was a part there around both parents eligible, I mean if they self-identify as carers then yes.
Simon Wheatley: Similarly, the question about whether if their child lived in a separate support bubble, I mean again if they are carer of that child part of the time, they self-identify as such, then I think they'd be encouraged to contact their GP practice to make sure that was recorded on their clinical record.
Simon Wheatley: And the final point is just on spare vaccination and some others have mentioned it, but certainly when it comes to the Pfizer vaccination, the Pfizer vaccine that needs to be used within three and a half days of receipt, which is a challenging operation. Providers have done really well to actually manage that logistically. What all sites have been encouraged to do nationally is have a backup list. So in the event that there's some vaccine leftover or in the event of people who don't attend that there's a small number of people who could be contacted quickly to make their way to the site in order to take on that vaccine and to ensure that it doesn't go to waste.
One of our one of our guiding principles nationals to make sure that no vaccine goes to waste. And so again similarly our practices and our PCNs are using clinical discretion and the JC VI prioritization to make sure that the patients go through, and on the backup list are right and eligible for the vaccine. So again if people self-identified as a carer then that would be an important consideration to GPs in making those bookings.
Louise Jones: Thank you, does anybody from clinically have anything to add?
Tina Agrawal: So I just to mention that we've done sessions, where we've had people with learning disabilities coming through often with their carers who are also due a vaccine part, partly because of their age or their own clinical things, so we've been co vaccinating people. So we are using you know clinical judgment, where it allows us to do that, and we are keeping reserves of people, who can be called at short notice.
Tina Agrawal: because sometimes the vials give us an extra dose or people are clinically unwell on the day so can't attend to their vaccine or for other reasons, so you know we're using every avenue to reach out to as many people to make sure that the most vulnerable are protected.
Louise Jones: Frances or Ammara, do you have anything to add on that particular question? no okay. Thank you very much, so another one for you, Simon.
Louise Jones: So the question goes I’m very concerned that people of any age, who have carers coming into their private homes are not being vaccinated. And, in some cases, neither are their carers. The young disabled people are told they are too young. For example, a young man of 34 years of age, with a disability, who has four regular carers doing 24 hour care was not vaccinated neither were the carers. When can he be offered the vaccine? I think there’s been something in the press today about disabled people, perhaps you could enlarge.
Simon Wheatley: Yeah and I guess it's similar invitation to practice colleagues after this, but if I, if I have an initial go Louise. So I mean I think many of us would have the same reflection from the case given that this is probably someone who would be eligible for a vaccine, as would their carers, whether paid or unpaid.
Simon Wheatley: And so I’d encourage the person involved or anyone involved in their care to ensure that contact was made with their GP practice in order that they can be brought forward and book for a vaccine, because that feels very much like without knowing the specifics of the case that they will be eligible, in light of the JC VI cohorts.
Simon Wheatley: yeah so I’m sorry I’m just checking my notes, I think that's all I would say on that that feels that that person should, and people who feel in a similar position should directly contact their practice to clarify certainly when they feel that they're in an eligible cohort but they've yet to be contacted.
Louise Jones: These are things that are coming up more now we've got past the 70-year-old bracket isn't it. Things are getting more complex. Does anyone have anything to add from a clinical side?
Tina Agrawal: The only thing I would mention Louise is obviously some people are housebound and are still waiting for visits from our district nurse colleagues who are working tirelessly to go around Camden but they've got a quite a big ask.
Yes, so they are still working on it. They were prioritizing those who were over 75 and housebound and now are moving down the cohort so there's still a lot of work to be done, people haven't been forgotten it's just that it takes a little bit longer to visit people in their own home, rather than coming to a hub, so we just need a bit more logistics and time and manpower to do that.
Louise Jones: Thank you So we've got a couple more questions. Ammara, where can people go for accurate information about the vaccine, including information about around this that arise and where those materials located So if you have any advice on that were really good sites to get information?
So forums like this, I think a great and thank you for organizing and we, the public health England have produced a lots of Covid-19 information leaflets in various languages so if they're available on the gov.uk website and Piers might be able to elaborate on exactly what the website is, but if you if you put into your search engine Covid-19 Public Health England information leaflets, it brings up a variety of leaflets in various formats, for people who need large print and different languages and when people arrive for a vaccination they are given information on the vaccine what to expect in terms of side-effects and what to expect after the vaccination.
So those are those are the really good sources of information and reputable sites anybody else would like to expand on that.
Louise Jones: Anyone so it's just really about making sure when you're going online that you, you check the source of your information and try and only look at the official sources, so that you can trust the information, Frances.
Frances Baawuah: yeah and there are some really excellent leaflets from different community groups so, for example, the British society of Imams has produced a lovely leaflets. From the scholars and the Islam community about the vaccine and highlighting specific questions that that Community might have.
Likewise, I think there's been one in the Jewish community I haven't come across ones and kind of the black Community yet, but I suspect that's because it's not as homogenous but certainly there are, you know, as I say, the two that I’ve mentioned are actually very, very good, so it may be that within different communities, and you can find some really lovely tailored factual advice there as well.
Louise Jones: But these would mostly be available online, I guess, so if you can't get online where would you go, do you think?
Frances Baawuah: And if there is something I can maybe to Shelly I can send her the link I didn't know she does something afterwards, but I can send that on.
Louise Jones: That would be helpful, thank you very much, and then there's another one for you, Frances a quite a specific question. I’m HIV positive Is it safe for me to get the Covid-19 vaccine?
Frances Baawuah: Yeah, we get this question quite a lot in terms of people who are worried about their immunity in the vaccine.
Frances Baawuah: I think there's a bit of confusion, perhaps about people thinking if they have lower immunity, or if the immunity is compromised in some way that the vaccine might be harmful.
And I think that what we need to stress and going back to what I said initially was that the vaccine doesn't contain Covid, so there's nothing in there that's going to necessarily reduce your immunity or make your immunity any worse and what it does, is it gives you a protein or a code or instructions that helps you produce fighter cells or antibodies so actually one would almost say that if you do have a condition, whereby you're more prone to infections and illness you would benefit most from having the vaccine and that fits with the priority groups that Piers and Simon and Ammara and Tina of all pointed out before, that the people who need the vaccine the most are those with underlying health conditions and who were there to get cove it would be more likely to have severe illness or hospitalization So the answer is, if it's safe, yes it is safe, because it doesn't contain Covid in it and because actually if you are somebody with HIV or a chronic illness you actually are highlighted as a priority group for the vaccine.
Louise Jones: Thank you we've just got two or three more questions we've got about 15 minutes left so. We will press on with these I think we've got three more questions on my list, which I think will probably just just be nicely on timing for us, so the next one is showed you assignment and we've kind of covered it but.
We could go a little bit further, so what is the situation about leftover vaccines. I thought that these were offered to frontline workers, but a friend of mine aged 29 who attends King's College University had a vaccine, two weeks ago, at the central vaccine Centre near to King's College. She told me that there's an arrangement between Kings the vaccine Centre to offer leftover vaccines to students obviously Kings isn't in our area but we've got universities, could you shed some light on this situation, please, if you possibly can.
Simon Wheatley: yeah thanks Louise and it's a really tricky one and clearly we need to know bit more of the specifics that have to follow up but, I mean, I think, broadly frontline health and care staff have been in the cohort two of the JCVI prioritization so they've always been significantly higher up the Other prioritization framework, and rightly so, because of the work that they're doing.
And in fact it's the only and reflection of occupational risk within the JCVI cohorts because the rest is based on age and on and on physical conditions.
And so, certainly all staff working in the NHS, be they frontline or otherwise have had a demographic risk assessment undertaken. And a number of our colleagues working across the NHS have health conditions that have mended they are shielding, like many other residents and similarly the clinical discretion would be undertaken at the PCN sides to understand where those people sit in terms of eligibility and when they will be called to vaccine so I’m very confident that in Camden people haven't been jumping the queue.
We're talking about NHS staff broadly who are all directly or indirectly involved in the response to pivot as well as some you know NHS business as usual and the demographic risk assessment is there is the key aspect so people's health conditions, people's ethnicity, all of the risk factors that apply equally to NHS staffers and due to the wider population.
Louise Jones: that's helpful for people to understand why perhaps somebody younger than that might seem to have been vaccinated that's really helpful.
Louise Jones: So we've got a couple more tomorrow, so Ammara, this is fun for you was quite direct as well with doubts and misinformation going around, how can I a white English person reach out to other communities, to gain trust to believe government encouragement to be vaccinated.
Ammara Hughes: that's a really lovely question, there is the key word for me there is Community. Yes it we're all part of various communities, whether it be the streets, we live on, where we shop, for our children or grandchildren go to school. Don't underestimate the power of an individual conversation that you might have with someone in your Community whatever community that may be. People don't trust generally, unfortunately, the government, but they do trust their neighbours they do tough do trust their friends, they do trust the people who they see at the school gates when schools are open so you're probably already doing more than you know. Because you are probably part of several communities and positive messages from yourself or stories of neighbours or all help because they snowball they have a domino effect and we know that's very, very powerful, regardless of which ethnic background you're from. Thank you.
Louise Jones: And the last one I have on my list here is for you is and it's about emptiness and lumpiness Of the vaccine rollout So the question goes like this understand that there are strict criteria about who is eligible for the vaccination and when.
So I was very surprised to learn that the power of Enfield whoops is offering vaccinations way in front of Camden. For example, my sister age 63 had the vaccine on the first of February, and two of my friends age 53 had their vaccines this week. None of these people had underlying health problems, can you shed any light on this? It kind of relates to what Simon was saying earlier, as well, I know, but um do you have any comments Piers?
Piers Simey: As a challenging question and clearly I can't do justice to the program that's running in Enfield and or assignments head around the specific details there but i'll have a pop. So we've all been following across the London bars, the national approach around the national priority groups and Obviously, in that first wave focusing on vaccinating residence of karen's people aged over 70 health and social care staff and people are clinically extremely vulnerable as set nationally, so the theme behind this which goes throughout all of the prioritization is age is the key determinant.
But clearly age isn't the only criteria that applies to these priorities as health and social care professionals can be vaccinated at any age where they're in direct contact with vulnerable people, but I’m taking it that your sister and your friends aren't in these groups. So again, this is heavily caveat it can't do for justice to this question, but I understand from colleagues in Enfield some of the picture that some general practices, maybe working through their priority list slightly faster than others, due to their different age structures.
But I’m you know I’m not close enough to give the full rounded picture behind this but coming back to what we know in kind of falling from Simon and Tina's points. And we know in in Camden that clinicians have some clinical judgment and discretion to vaccinate individuals with direct links to those in the first vaccination groups.
and, overall, I think we all accept it's important that we stick to the approach of vaccinating people within the nationally set privacy groups, as these have been set on firm grounds and it's important that we have a common approach.
Louise Jones: that's really helpful Thank you does anyone have anything to add no yes please.
Tina Agrawal: Just also point out that sometimes ill health or conditions aren't visible to people or shout about it, so if they have a learning disability Or, there are carer in a paid job or an unpaid job or they have Chronic kidney conditions, these things people may not be aware of them So yes, the ages, the priority, but also the clinical vulnerability.
And sometimes people don't shout about it, we shouldn't be vilifying people for reaching out and getting the vaccine when the opportunity arises as long as it's done.
You know, on the whole fairly, we will hopefully get the vaccine as an adult population, it is a marathon, this is a long haul Program.
If it happened, someone gets in an error in one or two weeks ahead of someone else you know I think that's it says it's a woman, which is a good result that we are encouraging, as many people to have the vaccine and, at the end of the at the end of day we want, as many people to come.
Louise Jones: that's really helpful, thank you, so I think if there are no other comments now, I think we will go to the final phase of our session, which is a couple of more questions that we have as a poll using our polling mechanism so we've got a couple more questions to ask you, and I hope everyone.
Is this feeling sprightly and willing to have a look so good to come up shortly, here we are, so the first one, did you learn something new about Covid-19 vaccine from tonight's event this just gives us some feedback for our records and for the next session that we might hold.
So if you wouldn't mind answering the question and there's the second one on there too, how is this event impacted your views on the vaccine?
So is it made you more likely to get the vaccine less likely, or do you think your views are on change but you're better informed, or you had no impact, please don't be shy say what you really think we're robust, we can take it.
Piers Simey: Tension mounting Louise.
Louise Jones: I know it's like the Eurovision Song Contest or something. Here we go, so this is a nice thing to see.
Everybody's learned something which is very encouraging some people's views around change with their bedroom for that absolutely fine plenty of time to think about it and we respect your views absolutely.
It's nice to see that some people feel more encouraged, but the important thing is for everybody to be open and honest and to feel listened to.
And for us to give accurate information and there is plenty of time, if you want to go and think about it, and come back at a later date, the door is always open to you so is there any Has anybody got anything further that they'd like to add from the panel. If not I'll throw the session to a close, I would like to thank everybody for joining tonight I’m sorry that you've had to have your cameras switched off and we haven't been able to be a little more interactive.
But it's just we have got such a lot of people, and we hope that we've been able to be engaging and informative.
So if you want to split your cameras on now, we can all have a group hug.
And wave goodbye, but very much appreciate your time and your consideration, and thank you very, very much to our excellent speakers we've been very woman an interesting, so thank you very much indeed.
Okay. Bye bye Thank you. And we will publish the questions on the websites.
Thank you for listening bye bye.