Dear Friends & Patients,
There is much excitement about the new COVID-19 vaccine(s) and the return to normal life which will follow. I think it is imperative not to underestimate the enormous logistical challenge that administering so many millions of vaccines poses; it can and will be done. It will take time. I am still of the opinion that the vaccine will be more widely available by second quarter 2021. If people are offered it (and chose to get it which I generally encourage) earlier that is a bonus, but I think it is important to keep our expectations in check.
The UK government is centralising the administration of the vaccine and is deciding who will get the vaccines and when, based on their risk assessment. In the first instance the vaccine will only be available through the NHS. The first group of the population who will be offered this are the most elderly, vulnerable and some health care workers/care home staff. Vaccinating just this first group will take time.
Particularly for vulnerable and high-risk people, I would encourage you to ensure you are registered with a local NHS practice too such that you can be put into a priority group and allocated a vaccine at an early stage. I have encouraged especially this group of patients to also register with the NHS, so in all likelihood you have already done this. If you are a high risk person and already registered, call them and ask what their vaccination plans are.
Separately if you are a low-risk person but are interested in getting the vaccine, I would encourage you to register with the NHS if you are not to ensure access to the vaccine as we do not know when the vaccine will be available privately.
If you are not registered with a local NHS GP, click here to find one: Find an NHS GP
And here is this form you need to complete once you have spoken to the practice you identify in the first link and ensure they are taking on new patients: NHS Registration Form
Eventually the COVID-19 vaccines will likely be available privately as well. If you are interested in having one do let us know, we will put you on our waiting list and when we source the vaccine, if you have not had one on the NHS already, we will invite you in.
Heading up to the holiday season, please ensure you have your medication and request any prescriptions you need ideally now. Go check your stock.
I will be away over Christmas and New Years however there are two lovely GPs covering the practice (Dr Khaleeda Siraj and Dr Leah Austin) and Jade will be answering your calls and emails. If reception is decent, I do my best to still be available to continue to support patients who test positive for COVID-19 especially.
COVID-19 numbers are likely to go up over the holidays. I have already seen a spike amongst my patients in the past seven days. Even if you test negative on a COVID-19 PCR / rapid flow test / the new saliva COVID-19 test ( I am not familiar with the new salvia test so cannot recommend it), whatever you use, if you do not feel well, then you should not see others. Don’t forget a negative COVID-19 test is great news but not a 150% all clear. We must use common sense. Whether you know you have recent exposure or not, COVID-19 is still around and your body can be working hard to fight it. I have seen the most cautious of households and individuals get COVID-19. And I have plenty of patients who tested negative for COVID-19 but did indeed have it. That’s okay, but err on caution. If you do not feel well: for example tired, achy, headache, not just the classic symptoms of cough and fever and the others we are all familiar with, then you should stay away from family and friends. This is especially true if they are vulnerable.
We all are desperate to see family again, those of us who have been unable, and ultimately many of us who have been spent far less time together with the people we care for, and who care for us. I continue to see much evidence of this mental toll. I believe we must continue to each do our own personal and family risk assessment.
As a little holiday treat, I attach a meditation by the wonderful Sir Nick Pearson, renowned psychotherapist and my dear friend, who has helped so many of my patients with guided meditations and deep relaxation, learning to calm the mind when there is too much going on. He has kindly created a guided mediation to help us switch off, reset and breathe. Give it a go, maybe it’s for you and if not maybe you know somebody who this might help: Download Guided Meditation
For those who are saturated, exhausted and having a challenging time, hang in there; not only is 2021 a new year, it will undoubtedly be a much brighter one.
Wishing you a healthy and safe holiday season.
With very best wishes.
Dr Kristina M Brovig
MBChB DRCOG DFFP