The COVID-19 vaccine
No one will have missed the announcement in the media of a successful vaccine for COVID-19. This is obviously fantastic news and suggests light at the end of the coronavirus pandemic tunnel. So far so good. Now all we need is for it to be checked by the regulatory bodies and confirmation that the vaccine is safe, prevents infection in all age groups and stops people transmitting the infection. That may turn out to be the easy part, because getting this vaccine from the special freezers where it is stored at -70 C into our upper arms within 5 days after de-frosting will be a considerable logistical challenge. Manpower is an issue, as the current NHS staff who are not self-isolating or off sick still have their usual daytime responsibilities and duties to fulfil. Much remains to be worked out and decided, but currently it seems that this vaccine is likely to be given in large centres with pooled resources. Although there will be special arrangements for the truly house-bound, everyone else is likely to need to travel a short distance to get vaccinated.
The government has produced a prioritisation list for various at-risk groups, and those in care homes, care home workers, the very elderly, the most vulnerable to COVID-19 and health workers will be the first to receive the vaccine.
We recommend that everyone has the COVID-19 vaccine when it is offered but do recognise that some people may need convincing. An open mind, listening to the science and looking at the big picture should help get enough people immunised to end this catastrophic pandemic.
The pandemic is not over
Despite the promise and hope generated by the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and others in the pipeline, it is obviously going to take well into next year before enough people are vaccinated to get the pandemic under control. Until then we shall need to continue our basic social distancing and hygiene measures – ‘Hands. Face. Space.’
For coronavirus tests online go to https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested and for a telephone booking call 119.
During the pandemic fewer people with symptoms of a possible cancer have come forward for investigation. Sadly, this reduces the chances of having successful treatment. We strongly recommend you contact the surgery if you have any concerning symptoms. More information about symptoms is available at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cancer/symptoms
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
We really miss seeing all of you in the Surgery and eagerly look forward to seeing more of you in person when we can safely do so – while recognising that medical practice has changed irrevocably to involve digital technologies. We really do hope you are taking care of yourselves and your loved ones. We have much to look forward to in the future, and I am confident that next year will be better and happier than 2020. From all of us here at Barton Family Practice – Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2021.