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Highlands Surgery

156 Stockport Road, Ashton-under-Lyne, OL7 0NW

Telephone: 0161 330 2440

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Covid-19 Vaccination Programme

Covid 19 Vaccination Programme

Updated 9th June 2021

Important Information

We are offering vaccines to patient groups as set out by the Government.

All of the Practices in our borough are working together to vaccinate their patients.  Please be reassured that we are progressing as quickly as possible, and that everyone will be vaccinated according to Government guidance.

There are some factors that are outside of our control which may make it appear that we aren’t vaccinating as quickly as you might think.

Currently, vaccines can only be given at a designated centre, which has been through an approval process, this does not include GP Practices. Our vaccination centres are in the local area, you will be advised of which site to attend when your appointment is booked.

Practices do not currently have any control over the timing of vaccine deliveries, what type of vaccine is delivered or how many doses – this is controlled nationally. Therefore the progress of our vaccination programme will depend on the rate of manufacture and supply, as part of UK-wide arrangements.

We receive very short notice of delivery dates/quantities – sometimes less than a week – this might mean you are called at short notice.

You may receive a letter inviting you to one of the Mass Vaccination sites in the region.  These letters are being sent from another part of the NHS system, so you may receive one even if you already have an appointment booked at one of the local centres.  If this is the case, please make sure you keep your appointment with us.  Every missed appointment is potentially a wasted vaccine.

If you receive a letter but have not yet got an appointment locally, you can choose to wait for us to call you or attend as per the letter.

We are contractually and legally required only to give vaccines to the groups of people who have been approved by the Government led Joint Committee on Vaccinations & Immunisations. We are not permitted to start vaccinating other groups until we are given authorisation to do so.

Please be assured that the Practices and local teams are working extremely hard to get you vaccinated as soon as we can.  Many of our staff are working long hours.  We won’t leave anyone behind and we are committed to giving the vaccine to everyone that wants it. 

We may contact you more than once to invite you to book a Covid vaccination appointment unless you have expressly told us you do not want the vaccine.

It is worth noting that what you see in the national media represents a national position and that there are local variances.  We aim to update our website as frequently as possible to provide information on the local position.

Phone calls to the surgery regarding the Covid vaccination are putting an increased pressure on the surgery, and is making it more challenging to do our routine work.



 Frequently Asked Questions

How are patients being contacted?

Given the scale needed for the Covid-19 vaccination programme, GP surgeries will be using a range of ways to contact patients to book their appointment. We are contacting patients by telephone and text message (where a mobile number is in your records). We work through the patient lists as quickly as possible, and in stages, once we know delivery dates and quantities of vaccines expected.

We currently have no control as to when vaccines arrive, hence why we are unable to plan ahead with clinics.

You will never be asked for anything other than a few personal details to confirm your identification and you will certainly never be asked for anything financial.

Which groups have been reached?

We are working through the eligible groups as authorised by the Government, with older age groups, care home residents, and those in the Extremely Clinically Vulnerable groups being vaccinated first (Groups 1-5). We have recently started to contact those aged 25-29 (Group 12).

We started vaccinating housebound patients in January and will continue to vaccinate these patients when we receive a supply of the particular vaccine that is suitable for safe transportation from the local hubs.  Nursing staff across the area are involved in this, therefore you may be vaccinated by staff from your own Practice, or staff from another local Practice

Please note that the vaccine supplies delivered to the local centres are for use by a number of local Practices. Practices have varying numbers of registered patients, and varying numbers of patients in the eligible groups. Therefore some Practices may reach the next eligible group sooner than others.

We can only invite as many patients as the number of vaccines we receive. This means that some people will receive their invitation for their vaccination earlier than others in the same group.

This does not mean that you have been forgotten. Patients are being contacted as and when the vaccines become available.

Please be patient. We will contact you when it is your turn to come forward for the vaccine.

Who decides the priority groups?

The priority groups have been decided by the Government following advice from the Department of Health and Social Care.

Can the priority groups be changed?

No. The priority groups cannot be changed. They have been decided upon by the Government, and the surgery is obliged to follow them. 

What measures are in place at the Vaccination Centres to keep us safe?

Careful planning has gone in to setting up the local vaccination centres. Staff are on site to guide you through the centre, and seating has been arranged to ensure social distancing. Patients are asked to arrive at their specified appointment time – neither early nor late, to avoid queues and congestion. Please wear a face covering.

Can I choose which of the Covid vaccines I receive?

The vaccination that you will be offered will be the one that is available at your vaccination centre.

Practices have no control over the timing of deliveries, the quantity of vaccines, or which type of vaccine will be delivered. If you decline a vaccination in favour of waiting for a different type, we cannot guarantee when this will be available.   

What are the criteria by which a patient is considered to be in the clinically vulnerable group?

NHS guidance specifies that people who fall into the following groups may be at high risk of complication from Coronavirus;

  • Have had an organ transplant
  • Are having chemotherapy or antibody treatment for cancer, including immunotherapy
  • Are having an intense course of radiotherapy (radical radiotherapy) for lung cancer
  • Are having targeted cancer treatments that can affect the immune system (such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors)
  • Have blood or bone marrow cancer (such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma)
  • Have had a bone marrow or stem cell transplant in the past 6 months, or are still taking immunosuppressant medicine
  • Have been told by a doctor you have a severe lung condition (such as cystic fibrosis, severe asthma or severe COPD)
  • Have a condition that means you have a very high risk of getting infections (such as SCID or sickle cell)
  • Are taking medicine that makes you much more likely to get infections (such as high doses of steroids or immunosuppressant medicine)
  • Have a serious heart condition and are pregnant
  • Have a problem with your spleen or your spleen has been removed (splenectomy)
  • Are an adult with Down’s syndrome
  • Are an adult who is having dialysis or has severe (stage 5) long-term kidney disease
  • Have been classed as clinically extremely vulnerable, based on clinical judgement and an assessment of your needs

If you’re at high risk from Coronavirus, you should have received a letter from the NHS

NHS guidance specifies that the people who fall into the following groups are at moderate risk of complication from Coronavirus;    

  • Are 70 or older
  • Have a lung condition that’s not severe (such as asthma, COPD, emphysema or bronchitis)
  • Have heart disease (such as heart failure)
  • Have diabetes
  • Have chronic kidney disease
  • Have liver disease (such as hepatitis)
  • Have a condition affecting the brain or nerves (such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis or cerebral palsy)
  • Have a condition that means they have a high risk of getting infections
  • Are taking medicine that can affect the immune system (such as low doses of steroids)
  • Are very obese (a BMI of 40 or above)
  • Are pregnant

Unlike people at high risk, you will NOT get a letter from the NHS

Will the Practice be notified when I have been vaccinated?

Yes, the digital system used to record your vaccination at the centre will send a message to the Practice system.

When will I receive a 2nd dose of the Covid Vaccine?

We will offer a 2nd vaccination to patients when we are authorised to do so by the Government/NHSE. If your 1st vaccination was arranged through your GP Practice, or you attended a Tameside vaccination centre, you will receive a text message (or phone call where we do not have a mobile number recorded) to advise when to attend for your 2nd Covid vaccination. Appointments will take place at the centre where you had your 1st vaccination, and will be offered in strict priority order according to the date of your 1st vaccination.

If you attended a regional hub for your 1st vaccination (e.g. The Etihad Stadium) you should have been provided with details for your 2nd vaccination at the time.

Be Scam Aware

We are aware that some people are receiving fraudulent calls and text messages offering the COVID-19 vaccination. In some cases, people are asked to press a number on their keypad or to send a text message to confirm they wish to receive the vaccine. Doing so is likely to result in a charge being applied to their phone bill. In other cases, callers are offering the vaccine for a fee or asking for bank details.

You will NEVER be asked for payment for the vaccine or for your bank details

If you receive a call you believe to be fraudulent, hang up. If you believe you have been the victim of fraud or identity theft you should report this directly to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

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